I'm a teach-aholic & fun/sad goodbyes
Trip Start Aug 24, 2008
24Trip End Jul 01, 2009
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My middle school students have been much better lately. They're still ridiculously loud and I still have behavior problems, but not nearly as many as before. The last two weeks I've done a geography lesson. I bought a big map of the world (everything was in Chinese) and wrote several countries on the board in English and had students come up to the map and say the country name in Chinese so the class would know both. I gave out my first homework assignment- they had to finish looking up the rest of the countries I had written on the board because the following week we would play a game where they would need to know the country names in English and which continent they were in. Although very few students actually did this, I was surprised by the number of them that brought geography books the next week to use during the game. The classes vs.'d each other in a Scattegories type game. I'd give them a topic such as "Countries that begin with 'C'" or "Countries in Europe" and then I'd give them a few minutes to write down as many as they could think of and then they'd go back and forth. I was happy to see they got really into it. The last five minutes of class I showed them money from different countries (they went nuts!) and I gave pennies to the students who tried the most during the game.
The first 2 weeks we were back, I was downtown at Mickey's office every day. I was mock-interviewing a girl named Kate who was friends with Maria (another girl I mock-interviewed) every day a week before her college entrance exam. I just found out this weekend she got in :) So happy for her. I knew she was really nervous. I've continued to meet with Tina (9 yrs old) once a week. She's a really fast learner. Also started meeting with a 9 yr old boy, Peter once a week. His parents are a little much for me to handle sometimes. They stand over his shoulder the entire hour and a half and correct him the second he mispronounces a word. It's frustrating because he's really smart, and I know he'd correct himself but they don't give him the chance. He's involved in so much- English lessons, piano, singing, calligraphy. In addition to his daily homework, he practices each activity for one hour a day. His parents mean well but I think they're a tad overbearing- he doesn't have much time to just be a kid and play. Although he seems to enjoy everything he's involved in, I have a feeling his parents don't give him much of a choice. I'm trying to make our time together really fun so he'll continue to like learning English. My friend Hanne is gonna be leaving soon so I'll be taking over one of her students. And Mickey asked if I could start teaching triplet girls but I think my plate is a bit too full at the moment.
Young Young has continued to impress me. She passed her first post-graduate exam and will take her second one in May. She's back to work now so her schedule is also very busy but she's always full of energy when she gets here at 8pm.
Our friend Jason who worked full time at a Foreign Language school is now back in the states so Kara, Willie and I have taken over for him. Our boss, Jack is really cool. He runs the school as well as teaches, he's in the process of opening a new school and he also has an international trade company. He's a busy guy but always makes time to call us to give us a heads up for the week. He has a lot of connections in our city and he asked me to work with one of his friend's hair school students for a weekend. They're all going to take a test in May which will determine if they get to go to Australia to continue studying to be a hairdresser. I interviewed about 25 students- I had to rate their grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation and give them an overall score taking into consideration their presence during our conversation. Afterward, we had a group discussion and then they cut my hair :) All the students were really cool. We're hopefully gonna go out with them this weekend. Kara and I are going to get our hair done on Friday- they want me to bring all my foreign friends.
I've also been teaching at a Foreign Language Kindergarten. The kids range from 2-6. They normally have a full time foreign English teacher but they're next one isn't here until May so I'm filling in til then. The kids are adorable. The 4 classes I teach have Chinese teachers that speak to them in English a lot so they know basic things. We do vocabulary, math, songs, games. It's a good time.
Our military friends all had to go back to their countries. It was a sad goodbye. We hung out with them all the time. Going out isn't going to be the same without them. We haven't actually been out out since they left- mostly because we're working so much that we're just too tired. But we have a lot of fun events coming up so we'll have time to party then.
Mallory and Lydia are coming to visit next week. Can't wait!! A couple weeks later, Willie, Kara and I are going to Chengdu, then Kara's brother is visiting, then we're going to South Korea, then Willie's family will be here, then we have about a month before we head home. Time is gonna fly. Although I'm really looking forward to being home and seeing everyone, I know I'm really gonna miss it here so I want to make sure to live up every moment.