China Team Journal

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thought of the day:
You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. –Jerry West

This has been the first full day of teaching, with classes in the morning and afternoon. The teachers have all been very solicitous about my strength and agility, and give me much help up and down the stairs and over distances which are long for me, but not for the others. I feel pampered and guilty, but I must admit, not as tired as I might otherwise be. They even carry my books for me.

They have delightful English names, such as Sunshine, Swallow, and also Diana and Della. One student asked Bob to name her, and he chose Diana, goddess of the hunt. What an honor for him.

Yibo, our fellow teacher, works at another school with autistic children. He speaks fluent Chinese, and is a cheerful soul, and seems to have the patience and caring to do much work. I am glad he is with us.

Our co-teachers, Karen and Bob are experienced teachers in life, and by being here last year. Bob was a career teacher and Karen has held a variety of jobs. Nonetheless, or because of this, I learn just by listening to them, talk about plans for their students and evaluating their days. I am also thankful for Bob’s spork.

I continue to be humble about my abilities. I am essentially learning by doing, and my students suffer for this. I have two or three teachers from the school in each period of each class and I am grateful for them. It was either Swallow or Fisher who suggested the game that was such a success yesterday. The first student picks a word, and the following student picks a word beginning with the last letter of the first word within a certain time, or must perform in some way. Those who failed mostly sang songs. The students delighted on this game both in thinking of words and thinking of songs. Singing songs as a group was also a favorite activity. Unfortunately my voice tends to crack, which it never has done before. We sang Frere Jacques in French, English and Chinese.

Today when the students introduced themselves, I took notes, the better to remember them. I was glad I started this.

In my first class I had several young mamas’ students I had trouble keeping their attention and eventually some did not come back after the second break. The teachers told me their English skills tended to be low, and they also would leave regular classes. None the less I feel I should be able to teach them.

Today I tried to use a book about Obama’s life designed for level three readers. I had hoped for spontaneous comments about the pictures, but most students chose to read the pages. It was hard to correct their mistakes unless I followed the book to each student. However, their reading was pretty good. It broken, we did not finish the book, but will save it for class next week with them.

So tomorrow is another day, and I will try and try again to find ways through Karen and Bob and Yibo and my life to teach English skills to my students.

Respectfully submitted,