So recently I’ve been exploring an increasingly popular trend in China… live streaming. While YouTube may have kicked off many years ago, the streaming craze in China has become particularly popular this year and people will watch others doing absolutely anything. The usual is some young one singing ballads or doing some sort of “alluring” dance. And since streaming is the centre of Chinese social media right now; views, likes and fans seem to role in easily enough, especially if they’re a little bit attractive. And in China, being white = being attractive. Enter Hannah.

Whilst not a big social media cat myself, apart from the odd Facebook post about how my students chose to mock me this week or how I’ve lost my phone, again – I agreed to do my first live stream class on Valentine’s Day. I had to plan a class about Valentine’s Day and teach students I couldn’t see, for an hour. It acts as promotion for English classes and while I tried to focus on pronunciation, imagining the students at home mimicking me- hearts, chocolates and comments popped up on the screen below “what a cute teacher” .. “how old are you?”.. “was that your boyfriend who just passed by?”.. Along with that are comments about my life in China and my Chinese. All the while I’m trying to shift the focus back to English.

I’d also been told the language level of the intended audience was low, meaning while trying to be interesting and potentially amusing,  I was also keeping it very basic by teaching them some simple vocab like “sweets” and “flowers”. This combination meant I ended up shaking the sweets around for longer than necessary in an attempt to provide some form of entertainment.

I’m sure my dog would have enjoyed it…

It’s a weird task to switch between languages constantly for an hour, especially if talking to oneself, as it feels on live streaming, but for the going rate of about forty euro an hour, I could manage weird.

Not to mention the painful process of watching the playback, which included the excruciating moment of me trying to balance my name on top of a large roll of sellotape, as I thought the viewers couldn’t see it properly. It turns out, their view is a little different to mine, and the playback showed it perfectly.

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In addition to this, the app has a clever feature of turning all writing so that the audience can read it…another thing was unbeknown to me as a rookie-  and  I spent far too long laboriously writing the vocab backwards onto the whiteboard, which I found out later was entirely unnecessary, as modern technology had done all the hard work for me.

After Valentine’s Day I was asked to do a live stream about The Oscars (something I know terribly little about in my first language, let alone my second) and then finally Women’s Day, which was the most interesting…

I prepared some topics like hobbies, clothes and finally, women’s issues.

As it was my third go, I was a little more relaxed, and like my classes before, was armed with props to keep it interesting- I hoped.

I felt this class went pretty well, and as I goofed around, people were more interactive. With ten minutes to go, I invited the audience to ask questions (about English). One particular viewer, who had been very verbal throughout, including mentioning how “men were slaves to women” when I raised the issue of equality in China, posed a couple of trickier questions to me- which all of the audience can see.

These included asking me “I have no money, car or house, how can I get a women to fall in love with me?”

I answered light heartedly about if he was himself, the right woman would appreciate him for who he is, bla bla, but this man would not quit. The dog with a bone then asked me “No seriously, how can I get a woman to fall in love with me?” Which I breezed over more quickly this time.

And finally after we’d moved on to something else, he chimed in again.

One of the the trickier things about live streaming, is having no time to prepare your answer, and as someone whose face can disguise nothing, my intolerance at this annoyingly persistent participant was becoming increasingly obvious as he posted his final comment into the group:

“A man will fight to death for a woman’s love”.

Class dismissed.

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