Saturday, August 15, 2015

Part R. Teaching in China. Rest Rooms.

Ah the joys of miscommunication!

It appears that the term rest room isn't a euphemism for the area where the toilets are housed, but was to be taken literally! At our school in Xuzhou, the rest room appeared to be a formal conference or Boardroom, and during the vacation period it had been set aside for staff to rest in after lunch.

However, we weren't aware of that on the first day, and, on being asked if we'd like to go to the rest room, made polite, non-committal noises and entered ...  I don't really know what we expected, but it certainly wasn't this!

Details of the large room were difficult to make out in the diffused light, and the gentle sounds of deep breathing (some might use the word snoring) greeted our chattering entrance. Stunned, we lapsed into awkward silence and looked at each other. Could this be true? Were the skeleton staff on duty really deep in a post luncheon kip?

Formal Boardroom chairs had been pulled together to make the semblance beds. Heads lolled in what appeared to be awkward, uncomfortable angles, on the backs or arms of the chairs, feet were draped over the adjoining chair. Clearly this wasn't a new idea, as all staff members were completely at ease and relaxed. Some had simply put their head down on the boardroom table and checked out for a while.
Not the Boardroom in question, but similar
except for the alert, focussed students!
We'd regularly enter the classrooms after lunch to find all lights had been turned off and our students sound asleep with their heads on the tables. Even they had the sense to have a complete break!

How civilised! An area specially set aside to have a snooze in the middle of the day! Australia could really learn from this! Less stress! Increased afternoon productivity! And so simple!

Unfortunately the opportunity for total relaxation wasn't for us. We rarely returned from lunch for long enough than to sit for more than a few moments before gathering our bags, books and photocopies and presenting the afternoon sessions. There were times in the afternoons when I thought longingly of the Rest Room and those gently snoring souls.

In contrast in 2015 in Gaoyou, we had lunch at the hotel we were staying at, and so were able to lie back in private and put our feet up in our hotel rooms on the pleasantly hard Chinese mattresses, (my back loves them!) and have a complete break after eating. It did wonders for my aching legs and I was able to give more energetic presentations in the afternoons!

On my list of things to learn however, is the ability to sleep anywhere. It'd be a very useful skill!
I haven't yet worked out the attraction of a window between the
bathroom and bedroom in some hotels.

My previous posts about Teaching in China were our ArrivalBanquets,  Culture and Comfort foods, DrivingExerciseFabulous Food,GamesHistoryIllnessFrom Jerilderie to JiangsuKenny (which is about toiletsLists and Communication MisunderstandingsNon-verbal communication followed by The Observations of an Onlooker, Pets, Questions, Rest Rooms and the next will be .... Shanghai ...!
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