Last weekend was the graduation party for my final year students. This year group have a special place in my mind as these were the students that started at the school the same year I did.
Their last day at school was at the end of April and that was quite an emotional day for everyone. In previous years the school hasn’t really acknowledged their departure and for the most part if has just been a usually day. This year we had a final meeting with all the graduating students and their teachers. Each of the teachers took their turn in making a small speech. After all the other foreign teachers had spoken it was my turn, saving the best for last and all that jazz! My speech went swimmingly for 7 seconds and then the floodgates opened.
Having started and being the only foreign teacher to stay with them for 3 years I feel that we had a close bond. I felt like the mother hen and was very protective of them, and just like any mother there were times when they drove me absolutely crazy!! These students made my time in Hangzhou and I was happy to share my journey in China with them. I learnt so much about china from them and I only hope that they learnt something from me…other than the fact that I hate snakes, I didn’t find the library until my second year of university and how I am only “a little bit” older than them!
The graduation party was held at local bar complete with swimming pool, of which no students used only three of the foreign teachers. All of the students looked AMAZING! The boys wore suits and the girls were simply stunning, it’s always nice to see them out of their hideous generic school uniforms/tracksuits! Speeches were made and performance were given, the other foreign teachers and I did a little comedy routine where we acted as different students and basically ridiculed them. it went down a storm, I just hope someone recorded it!
We also had a gift exchange, where the teachers would have a lucky dip to decide which student would receive the gift. It was difficult to decide what to buy as I didn’t know whether it would be a girl or a boy that received it. So I settled for a tshirt with a picture of my on the front…that way they would never forget me! Fortunately I picked one of my favourite students and he was also one of the students who I mimicked in our performance. I like to think that he appreciated it, he also got a notebook and a pen, which I told him he should probably use when he starts his classes in America.
As the end of the came around and the last load of selfies had been taken, it was time for the final goodbye. Unlike when they left the school this was a time for celebration, so no tears were shed. I was proud of them and will miss them not being around the school, but mostly I was so happy to meet a group of teenagers, which for the most part made my time in china so memorable. Their departure only reminds me of how quickly my time here is coming to an end!