Tuesday 11th November 2008 by C. Freeman
Two of the language assistants at Brooke Weston saw snow for the first time ever during the recent cold snap. Hai-Ping Tan who is from China and Mbathio Sougou from Senegal were both amazed. They, along with Spanish assistant, Celia Prats, are teaching Mandarin, French and Spanish respectively to our language students.
Hai-Ping said: 'I was very excited when I saw the snow coming from the sky like goose-feathers. It was very exciting and a completely new experience for me.' She teaches English in Guangdong province in south China and typically has about 70 students in a class back home. The Chinese school day is much longer than the British one and students sometimes have lessons at the weekend.
Hai-Ping, who has been a teacher since 1990, has enjoyed teaching students in Years 7,8, 12 and 13. She said: 'They are interested in anything about China, not only the language but also the culture. Most of them haven't studied any Chinese before so it's very difficult and very different for them. This school is very good, the teachers are very responsible and patient with the students and the students are excellent.'
Spanish schools are similar to British ones according to Celia, who is from Cadiz province. She helps out with students from all year groups. She said: 'In Spain the schools are basically the same but there we start at 8.30 and finish at 2.30.' Celia has studied in the UK as part of her degree course. She said: 'I want to study international relations but I also would like to teach Spanish in a foreign country because I like to be in contact with different people.'
Mbathio who is from central Senegal is settling down well in England and she was also thrilled to see the snow. She said: 'If you are in Africa you just hear people talking about snow and you can't believe it. I was really happy to see it!' Mbathio, who has been a teacher for five years, is working with Years 11, 12 and 13, giving advice on French pronunciation and grammar. She said: 'I enjoy it here and being here will improve my English because in Senegal it is our second language.'