Arrival in Mianyang, Sichuan province

Monday: March 22: Arrived in Mianyang this morning – very tired from difficulty adjusting my sleep patterns to the 12 hour time difference – have averaged about 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night for last few nights – hope to get more tonight.

Was met at airport by 3 excited teachers with a big “John Millspaugh” sign – taken out to lunch which was excellent (little spicy but not too spicy) and then checked into a hotel room near the school. They gave me a couple of hours to rest this afternoon, then came to escort me to the school just down the street. I learned I will teach all grade 7 students for the next 2 weeks, then all grade 8 students for the final 2 weeks of my stay. They have 16 classrooms of 7th graders – all of which have about 60 to 70 students. So I have about 16 classes of 65 students each (big number!) that I teach per week. Class length is 40 minutes so I think I can manage. I was taken around to each classroom tonight to be introduced – the kids are unbelievably excited to meet a foreigner – their very first! Just entering the room leads to loud applause from them – I said a few words in English and they all seemed to understand and respond so I think I’ll be able to get by without a lot of structure to my lessons- I told them we would talk and they should think of any questions they might have for me… about America, about English, or whatever.

Early to tell for sure, but I think I will not be able to produce the same kind of documentation (videos, long descriptions) for the blog as I did last time – seems like I might be busy just resting when I’m not teaching. Anyway, despite the intimidating numbers (and the fact that these are middle-school kids which are always a challenge) I have a very good feeling about being here – they certainly made me feel welcome!

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