China Team Journal

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sunday-Monday, April 6-7

Global Volunteers Team 159 Journal
Xi’an, China
April 5 – April 26, 2008

Background: This team are serving in two different schools in Xi'an, China. One is Gao Xin No. 2 School ( No. 2 School of High-Tech Zone) and the other is La La Shou Special Education Center. As you read the journal entries from every day, you will be experiencing China together with us.

Sunday, April 6, 2008 Mary Rae

First day – after a delicious dinner the previous evening and meeting the team members, we began the program with an all day orientation consisting of learning the rules, setting goals and looking at effective team characteristics. Coordinator assignments were also made. (Information follows the text.)

In the late afternoon, we met the school administration, some of the staff and three students. The staff agreed to break down the classes into approximately 20 students after a request by a team member. Two of us will work with the younger students and two with the older group. We will teach three 40 minute blocks on Monday and thereafter for the next two weeks. Following the meeting, the team went to the GV office with our leader to look at materials and to review the specific assignments.

Tomorrow – WE TEACH!

1. Engage in cultural exchange
2. To build personal relationships
3. To teach
4. To learn
5. To have fun

18 Characteristics of an effective team
1. Share with each other
2. Synergy/creativity
3. Committed to the goals of the program
4. Flexibility
5. Communication
6. Modesty
7. Respectful of one another
8. Health and safety
9. Achieve goals
10. Supportive of each other
11. Challenge ourselves
12. Sense of humor
13. Patience
14. Punctuality
15. Constructive criticism
16. Professional
17. Open mindedness
18. Have fun

Coordinator Assignments
Free time Coordinators - Peggy and Gael
Health and Safety - Hugh and Mary
Journal Manager - Dave
Final Celebration - Mary and Hugh

Global Volunteer Policies
1. No personal gifts given to any schools, students or staff. Can give personal gifts to GV who will retain them as resources for other volunteers.
2. No intimate physical contact with local people.
3. Obey Chinese local laws especially money exchange, crossing streets and use of seat belts. (Must use seat belt in the front seat.)
4. GV is committed to working hand in hand with local people.
5. While working with students less than 18 years of age, always make sure another person is present.
6. Do not use illicit drugs, tobacco or alcohol.

Do not make commitments on behalf of GV without clearing it first with our Country Manager. While on free time, check with team leader to make sure activity is safe. Travel ion pairs. Do not take any photos of school staff or students the first three days and it relegates them to being objects rather than people, friends, etc.

Be punctual. This is highly respected in China. Plan ahead but expect changes as the Chinese do not ordinarily plan ahead. When greeting people, shake hands and bow slightly. The pecking order of status is: elderly, teachers, etc. Chinese speak loudly. The speaker joins in the applause of a group. Keeping face is vital. Be careful correcting students.

Monday, April 7, 2008 Peggy Hale

Thought for the Day: “Even the smallest fragment of glass can reflect the sun.”

After breakfast Mary read Sunday’s journal and Peggy offered the Thought for the Day.
Hu Di shared some cultural material with us. The first was about the tradition of the Five Elements, the other about the Olympic mascots.

At 8:30 we went to opur schools for the morning. Hu Di and Peggy went with Huang to the La La Shou Special Education Center. We reviewed the educational materials from the United States and the Resource Center, to see which would be appropriate in Liwan’s class of six students, ages 11 to 13. There were introductions and Hu Di helped with translation. Liwan has two adults helping her. The room is about the size of our hotel room (22’x15’) with a keyboard, blackboard, and six desks with chairs and stools.

I told the children about my family and showed them some photos. Then I taught them the song “Row, row, row your boat.” We discussed the vocabulary and practiced pronouncing the words. After my lesson, I observed as the children had their lunch. I toured the school, then returned to the hotel for lunch. The group reviewed their experiences teaching.

After lunch we took the #45 bus to the Muslim Quarter. Hugh took us to an art gallery which sells work done by local university students. Several of us bought things. Then we had our first experiences with taxis back to the hotel.

After dinner reviewed our schedules for the next two weeks.