Beijing 2010

I found my video of Tiananmen Square.

If you can’t see the video below, click here


Return of the Teacher Voice!

So it seems I’m inadvertently back on playground duty.

No, I haven’t set foot in a school and I really didn’t mean for it to happen. Let me explain…

Since leaving teaching and returning to the city, my life has settled into a rhythm; a nice, relaxed, stress-free rhythm.

Part of my new day is going to the park to walk the dog.

missy park

For the first week I always seemed to end up at the park around two o’clock, we’d have a meander around, I’d sit on a bench and Missy would turn into a wolf and bark ferociously at any dog, who has the audacity to come anywhere within a metre radius. 2pm is nicely placed, time-wise, I get a bit of baking done before and some writing done, after I’ve been in the fresh air, clearing my head.

Usually, I let Missy decide which route she wants to take and I noticed that when I do, she always gets to a certain point, just as all the kids are coming out of the local high school. I started thinking it was because she was missing all the kids that she used to see every day. The kids who would call her name and give her hugs and tummy rubs and she was trying to get that feeling again…

But it can’t be that, dogs don’t think like that, do they?

(Those of you who know Missy, make your own minds up).

Anyway, sure enough, the kids stop and make a fuss of her and Missy runs off back to the car, happy.

But then, one day last week…

As we were approaching the certain spot, my Teacher’s spidey sense, started to activate, something was afoot. The kids who, on the face of it, were simply walking home, were seeming to drag their feet and walk much slower.

The flow was somehow off.

Every teacher knows, when the flow of large groups of kids moving in one direction is off,

nothing good can come of it.

As I neared the entrance to the park, there was something unspoken in the atmosphere.

Kids were loitering…


I knew what that meant.

I tensed, because I knew that there was going to be a fight and I was going to have to use…

the Teacher Voice

The Teacher Voice is that certain tone of voice, which is like a dog whistle for children (and some adults!). Kids immediately stop whatever they are doing and await further instruction. I don’t know when I acquired it, but I know that it is the common denominator in teachers with good classroom management. They all have a decent Teacher Voice.

I remember (about 4 years ago), leaving the Language Assistant with the class, while I escorted a rascal to the Head of Department’s room next door. In the two minutes it took, I returned to a riot in my room. I walked in and said,


Just one word, spoken loudly, not shouted, brought silence to a classroom of kids.

After the lesson, the language assistant said, “How do I get one of those voices?”

I replied, “The same way you get to Carnegie Hall

Which made me chuckle, but went completely over her head, because, well,  she was nineteen and German!

Anyway, back to the park.

To be honest, I was a little nervous.

I hadn’t used the Teacher Voice for three months, what if I’d lost it?

As this thought flashed into my mind, the fight started.

If it’s a one-on-one, I thought, cowardly, I’d just walk on, maybe just walking past would stop it. I looked over and it was a three against one situation.

Of course, it was, because that was going to be my day now…

Like the terminator, my mind ran through the super quick Teacher Analysis algorithm:

  • relatively small crowd of kids, as it had just started,

  • offenders looked Year 8 ish, or more likely Year 9s, (Those pesky Year 9s… Grr!)

which means that physical intervention is probably not needed, a stern comment in Teacher Voice would suffice.

Then the Appropriate Phrase Simulation algorithm began:

  • Don’t want to inflame anything – so no aggressive, Hey!

  • Definitely don’t want to engage any more than necessary – so no questions like, ‘What’s going on?’

  • Stick to statements.

Phrase chosen, I use my best Teacher Voice.

“I hope that’s just a play fight!’

Immediately, the boys jumped apart and the crowd began to disperse.

I walked away thinking,

“I still got it!”

But then I thought, what would you have done, if they hadn’t stopped?

As I was pondering this, walking past the remnants of the crowd, a little gobby one – there’s always a little gobby one – says to me,

“What would you have done, if they hadn’t stopped?”

To which I smiled and said,

“I have absolutely no idea.”


Isn’t it great when you find something you thought you’d lost forever?

Now last year, I was trying to find some videos that I lost in an unfortunate World Cup related England-goal-scoring-beer-crisis incident. Basically I sprayed beer over my laptop and it went kerboom! (or more accurately fizzle fizzle pssst!) taking with it the originals of all the videos I lovingly made in China for my friends and family, who never actually watched them.

So I logged on to Myspace for the first time in many years and discovered that my videos were nowhere to be found.

You may wonder why I put them on Myspace when Facebook was around, but you have to remember that Facebook was unavailable in China, you simply could not (legally) access it. So when I found out that the Chinese Government didn’t seem to mind Myspace, I started putting the videos (and blog) on there.

When I finally gained access to Facebook (thanks to a student called Sam) it took three times as long to upload a picture to facebook, so there was no way I was uploading videos. Myspace remained the best place, until in an attempt to reclaim ground lost to Facebook, Myspace redesigned itself.

Leaving me no clue how to find my videos!

I was devastated because I was really looking forward to seeing them and I wanted to remember what life was like over there. I was more than devastated, I was inconsolable.

Today, I was finally sorting out my bookmarks folder on my browser – I know, the things we do when we’re procrastinating! – and I came across an old bookmark folder called Myspace.

I clicked the link, which took me directly to my videos page!

So if you fancy watching snippets of my daily life in China, you’ll find the links below.

Find All my China videos here:

But here are some of my favourites:

In this Video, I take a trip to the Market – there’s a lot of silence, it originally had, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen as a soundtrack, but Myspace made me take it off, so if you have it, play that (Or Bicycle, by Queen) as you’re watching it, it will enhance your viewing experience!



Come with me to the Market from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

In this one, I visit Dennis, the supermarket and I think this is when I have a meltdown because an entire bus full of people stopped and stared at me for about 5 minutes.



Amanda visits Dennis from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

This is one where I go on a tour of the local fast food

Fast Food – Chinese Style from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.


Where did I go when I needed cheering up? Take a look:

The Jiaozuo Pilgrimage from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

This is the one I made when I went on a Birthday Trip to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Army. But this isn’t the Soldiers, it’s the City Wall – filed away in my memory under, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time’


Xi’an City walls from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

My Trip to Hefei & Shanghai

Part ONE:

Amanda’s Adventures in China pt 1 from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

and Part Two:


Amanda’s Adventures in China Part Two from Amanda Murphy on Myspace.

Thank you, Adele…

Adele opened her World Tour

I love Adele.

When I’m trying to make a point to young women while ranting at a Jessie J* video , she continually gives me proof that you don’t need to dance around in your bra and knickers to be a success.
Adele proves every time that if you are confident in your own artistry and you stand by the quality of your voice and music, you don’t need to distract people by stripping off and shaking your arse in people’s faces.

You don’t need to put on ‘a show’ if your voice and your music are the show.


(* other pop stars exist, who inexplicably dance around in their bra and knickers like they’ve forgotten their PE kit)