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Welsh teacher Don: enjoy teaching and living in Kunming

By : InKunming | Published: 2014-04-18

Don Hayes (Photo/ Tracy)

Don is a cycling amateur. [Provided to InKunming]

[InKunming--Interviews & Polls]  This April in Kunming seems to be an early beginning of summer, since temperature is getting higher and higher day by day.

It was a sunny noon on April 16. InKunming reporter Tracy met Don Hayes in Shane, an English training center in Kunming.

Don, coming from Wales, has been teaching English in Kunming for almost 5 years. Wearing a simple t-shirt, Don is more like a big boy who has light brown curly hair and bashful smile, rather than a 36-year-old teacher.

Five years' teaching has made Don integrate into the city. Like most of local residents, he works 5 days a week, and enjoys cycling, travelling, eating Dai foods, etc, in spare time.

“Living in Kunming makes me feel peaceful”

Kunming, a renowned tourist city which boasts its cozy climate all the year round, makes Don feel happy to live in.

Don has been to China for 6 years. He went to Guangzhou after graduating from a college in Wales, and came to Kunming one year later. "The weather of Guangzhou is not nice, but people there matter more. Guangzhou people care much more about money and success than Kunming people." Don noted, "Moreover, life pace of Kunming is much slower than that of Guangzhou, which makes me feel peaceful."

Don can't speak Chinese. "I'm too busy, so that I have no time to learn Chinese." Even so, Don doesn't feel unaccustomed in daily lives. "I have a Chinese assistant when I teach Chinese students. And the most important thing is that most of the local residents are diverse in a nice way."

Don has traveled in many places of Yunnan. Among all the places, Lijiang is his favorite one. "Lijiang is a very peaceful and beautiful place. My girlfriend is from Lijiang." said Don, looking a little shy.

A cycling amateur who loves Dai food

Cycling is the most favorite pastime to Don. Having been cycling for 4 years, he is keen on sightseeing streets, parks and mountains of Kunming. "I went to the Dian Lake by bike during this Qingming Festival. It was a great experience." said Don.

Don has two days off every week. Among them, he usually spends 1 day on cycling. According to Don, mountains in north district of Kunming are places where Don cycled most frequently.

Click here to view Chinese report.

Photo taken by Don. [Provided to InKunming]

Besides cycling, Don is also fond of eating Dai food.

Dai food is one of the most unique and renowned cuisines made by Dai people in Yunnan. The cuisine features flavors of sour and piquancy. "I love eating local foods in home-style restaurants. In fact, I am not a fan of local foods, except for Dai food."

In spare time, Don would like to have a couple of drinks in bars, or play indoor football with his friends or colleagues.

Teaching tenet: staying away from tests, getting close to real lives

In Don's opinion, English should not be included into science, but should be regarded as an art. "Most science subjects are a little bit boring, but learning English with a full heart can make people happy."

In order to make his students enjoy learning English, Don uses a life-oriented teaching method which differed from teaching method in public schools."Public schools in China focused too much on tests. But I want my students to get near to real lives and have fun of it."

Not long before, Don took his students to a zoo. "I ask my students to take pictures by themselves, and choose out their favorite one. Then, I encourage them to describe the reason why they chose this one in English."

Don told the reporter, "I often take my students to parks, markets, and restaurants, in terms of different topics of lessons. During classes, I will also organize various activities to arouse students’ interests, such as games, competitions, dramas, etc."

In the training center, students are divided into different classes according to their ages. There are no more than 14 students in each class.

Don said, "As a teacher, the happiest moment is to see my students become more and more confident."

When talking about the future, Don noted that he has no plan right now. "I feel happy now." he said.

Click here to view Chinese report.

(Editors: Tracy, Cathy Chen)

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