• About Julie

    NJ native without the accent or the big hair. Currently residing in Beijing. Teaching English. Absorbing all things China. Exploring SE Asia.

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Otra vez

If you remember last year about this time, the Foreign Experts Bureau (FEB) in Beijing wouldn’t give our schools the necessary documents to get our visas. The reason? Technically we can’t teach in China without two years of experience. The three schools that our program works with were able to obtain special permission to waive the rules for Cedarville teachers and that’s how I was able to go to China. We were promised that this wouldn’t be an issue in the future.

But for now it is. The new teachers at two of our three schools this year are having trouble getting the papers they need from the FEB. We think it’s because of the new visa restrictions and the heightened concern from the Olympics. I’m fairly certain that the new teachers at my school will eventually be granted permission to come, but we will probably have to wait to press the rule until after the Olympics.

So we are hopeful and thoughtful about these things, but it is discouraging and I feel bad for the new teachers who were excited to fly to Beijing in three weeks. Now it looks like their ETA will be pushed back until some time in September. Eleven of us are getting ready to leave August 20ish, but we hope that the remaining twenty five can join us soon!

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Answers

Mary was granted a visa this morning, so she and Joel will be able to attend training together in July! And… we’ll be adding a baby Hollins to the team in January or February!

Thanks to everyone who was thinking about this.

Downsizing

There is a big demand for new teachers next year – 23 at the minimum with a max of 45. It is the last year for so many people who have been here for 2-4 years which creates a huge need for next year. Unfortunately there aren’t enough applicants at this point to meet the minimum.

The ERAP program at Cedarville currently supplies teachers to four schools: Renmin University, Ren Da Fu Zhong (high school affiliated to the University), Fen Xiao Ren Da Fu Zhong (branch school of the high school), and Shi Yi middle school. If enough teachers aren’t found very soon, there will not be ERAP foreign teachers next year at the Branch School and those teachers will move to the main campus to fulfill the minimum need. This means that those teachers have to start all over again in their class preparations and building relationships with students in a new place. We of course do not want to see this happen, so will you join us in our thoughts for more teachers? We want to see the program’s influence expand beyond the number of teachers this year.

Something to be thinking about

My team leader at my school married a Chinese teacher this past summer, and they are trying to arrange for her to be able to travel home to the States with him this July for ERAP training. She was denied a tourist visa by the U.S. embassy three times last summer for failure to prove that she would definitely return to China, even though she submitted bank records and a school contract. They are in the process of re-applying for a visa now that they are married. Remember Mary and Joel in your thoughts because she’d really like to be able to visit Joel’s family and hometown.

Our apartment is starting to look like people live in it now! We went to a market yesterday (the Americans call it “Purple Star” because it has one on the front, but we have no idea what it’s really called) and got some scrolls and wall hangings. One big scroll, three smaller ones, and ten framed pictures was the equivalent of about USD20. Anna and I are excited about getting them on the very white walls…hopefully things won’t echo so badly after that. I’ll post some updated pictures once things are hung.

My first full week of teaching is almost finished! It went well, all except for my Junior I Oral English Class 10. They were awful today and talked through the entire class, so I had to take points off of everyone. Each student begins the class with 5 points, and each time I have to give a warning or discipline they lose a point off of their participation for that day.

The girls down the hall are cooking for the singles tonight, and then one of the newly-married couples is having a wedding open house with their photos and wedding video. I am tutoring a girl in English tomorrow morning. Her Mom had contacted me about tutoring because her daughter wants to attend college in Australia, and it turns out that she is in my Senior I History class also. After that, several of us are going to the China Open for an afternoon of cheap tennis tickets and the dinner after that. I haven’t been outside of the Haidian District of Beijing, so it will be fun to see more of the city.

Then on Sunday, IF is in the morning and I am studying the Book with some students in the afternoon. After that we have our weekly team meeting where all 32 ERAP teachers come to our school for a time of announcements, song, teaching, and talking to Dad together.

So…a busy weekend is ahead! And I have to create next week’s lesson plans before Sunday evening, too. 🙂

My TMJ has been giving me a lot of problems this week, if you could remember that. It started to get painful last night so I’ve been taking a lot of ibuprofen trying to get the swelling down.

A situation has developed greatly impacting the ERAP program since I last wrote. Last fall the Foreign Expert’s Bureau in China enacted a new policy stating that all foreign teachers would need to have a teaching certificate and at least two years of teaching experience, which was to go into affect at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year. At that time, the schools at which we teach petitioned for exemption from this rule so that newly-graduated Cedarville students could continue to go to China. However, some of the people at the Bureau were recently replaced, causing the schools to resubmit their requests, which were refused. The principals at these schools have been petitioning the government for the past two weeks in hopes of being granted exemptions.

Unfortunately, the outcome for which we were all hoping for was not to be, although it’s better than what it could have been. The principal at Ren Da Fu Zhong and its branch school was the only one granted an exemption for her schools. The decision is final, which means that six newly hired teachers that were to begin their first year with me were informed yesterday that they will not be able to travel with us to China next month. Some of you may know Jaimie Teekell, Shawn Green, Emmett Robinson, Betsy Verwys, and Chris and Nicole Jones. I ask that you would be in remembrance for each of them as they face great disappointment and begin to pursue other options.

It is bittersweet as I prepare to leave for training on Thursday. While I feel like I am following father’s plan, I am also very saddened and disappointed for the others who will not be able to travel with us. I have gotten to know several of them, and was looking forward to living, working, and serving with them. At this point, returning teachers and new teachers at Ren Da Fu Zhong are scheduled to fly to China on Wednesday, August 22. We are still unaware if the date will need to be pushed back by a few days, as we are still waiting for the invitation letters and work permits needed in order to apply for visas. Unless they come very soon, our flights will be delayed, so please lift up your thoughts for added motivation for the Chinese government this week!

I have begun to study Chinese, in hopes of having some slim understanding of the language before stepping off the plane in Beijing. Dr. Don has been instrumental in my grasp of the Chinese language, and I thought I would share some of his helpful tidbits (and his humor) with you all:

Are you harboring a fugitive? Hu yu hai ding?

See me ASAP Kum hia nao

Small horse Tai ni po ni

Your price is too high No pai dum ting

Did you go to the beach? Wai yu so tan?

I bumped into a coffee table Ai bang mai ni

I think you need a face lift Chin tu fat

It’s very dark in here Wai so dim?

Is your flight delayed Hao long wei ting?

An unauthorized execution Lin ching

Are you on a diet? Wai yu mun ching?

This is a towaway zone No pah king

You are not very bright Yu so dum

I got this for free Ai no pei

I am innocent Wai hang mi?

Please, stay a while longer Wai go nao?

Our mtg is next wk Wai yu kum nao?

They have arrived Hia dei kum

Stay out of sight Wa shing ka

Does this bathroom stink! Hu flung dung?

The details are coming in! I will be teaching Senior 1 History twice a week for a total of eight hours, Junior 1 Oral English once a week for six hours, and Junior 1 Experimental English twice a week for two hours. This comes to a teaching load of sixteen hours per week.

Now, you’re probably wondering what exactly this means and what these classes are….as am I! 🙂 Joel is the team leader at RenDaFuZhong and he says that he’s sure that we all have a million questions about the classes we’re teaching and they will all be answered at training starting on July 19. This is taking place at Cedarville University in Ohio.

Would you join with me in remembering several things?

1) Beseech the throne on behalf of the RenDaFuZhong principal as she continues negotiating with Chinese government officials to allow the ERAP program to continue. As Joel has stressed, this is not something to cause a panic, but a process that needs to be lifted up.

2) That I would enter both training and China personally right with father, throwing off everything that hinders and things that so easily entangle. That I would be preparing my heart and seeking him first.

3) That the pesky ear problems I’ve had for most of my life would not be troublesome right now, and over the next year. Right now I am very uncomfortable.