China Team Journal

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday, November 10th

Thought for the day:

“It’s a very ancient saying
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you’ll be taught.” (The King and I, Rogers & Hammerstein)

At breakfast, Bill read his well-written account of Monday. Some discussion of the order in which the “thought of the day” was assigned, but we got it figured out. Bao Li sent us off to our first full morning of teaching with a reminder to slow down and not talk too fast.

It was a particularly beautiful day, streets alive with cars, curiously silent motor scooters, and bicycles. “Spring every day in Kunming,” a sign said, and it was correct.

Sally and I had a good morning with the “students,” who expressed themselves more freely and at greater length. Several of them voiced concerns about management of their own classrooms and wanted ideas about how to get students to want to learn English. A couple of the mature teachers offered some suggestions, like getting to know your students well, using games, etc.—but it was clear that some of these teachers were facing major challenges, such as children with absent parents or parents who “didn’t take care of” their children. We assured them that the U.S. has similar problems.

At lunch, we volunteers what had gone well. Bill and Brenda said that some in their group had responded at length to the question “How did you meet your spouse?” and that “Take me out to the ball game” (requiring some explication) had been a hit. Ted and Eleanor took students outside for the final hour and had a good q and a on American culture. Danielle and Aleatha had their group share information about their teaching, in particular what they liked about it, what was easy, and what was challenging.

We went back to the college at 2 pm for the afternoon session. Bao Li gave a very concise and informative talk about Global Volunteers’ philosophy and its work in China. This was a case when Power Point was obviously very useful and made the talk easier to follow. (Sometimes in the US, I find it silly to have people read what’s on a screen.)

We then divided into small discussion groups, which gave us a chance to talk to teachers not in our group, which all enjoyed.

Back at the hotel at 5 pm, caught our breaths or did preparation and/or errands, dinner at 6. The variety of the delicious dishes that keep coming is truly remarkable. At around 7, Mr. Ma, a travel agent/tour guide, came to talk to us about possible weekend excursioning. This journalist was fading fast so did not follow the ensuing discussion closely, but could tell that Aleatha was doing a great job of figuring out a Plan. We are gong to the Stone Forest for a half-day on Saturday, then be on our own for the rest of the weekend. There are several things in and around Kunming we’d like to see—it has much to offer.

A full day!

by Louisa