China Team Journal

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday September 23, 2010

Thought for the day: We can disagree without spite or violence.

Team 187, the "A" team, is winding down in our teaching duties. My morning class was a pleasant surprise. There were 2 Uighur students among the 8 students I had in my class. When the class started I was under the impression that the 2 Uighur girls had had very few English lessons. To my surprise after the first 10 minutes they could read and speak English quite well. Actually some words were easier for them to pronounce than the Han students. I was having fun and I also believe that the students were having a lot of fun, despite my goofy teaching style. We didn't know the class had ended until we saw Tony and Claudia waiting at the library door. Even so the students wanted to read and then sing an English song before the class ended. Of course the song they sang is the one that team 187 made famous here -- "You Are My Sunshine."

At our usual noon feeding, Baoli gave us GV questionnaires to fill out. She also informed us that Julia thought that Maggie was going to teach the students ballroom dancing. There might be over a couple hundred students tomorrow afternoon for our farewell event. Teaching hundreds of students ballroom dancing is an unimaginable task. Hmmmm! There seemed to be a communication problem between our team and the school. However, Maggie is a fast thinker having been a teacher for over 20 years: she has learned how to compensate when the chips are down. Maggie suggested we teach the students Swing and the Twist if we have to. After solving the dancing lesson problems we had to solve our second challenge for the Friday afternoon program. The students expect us to sing and dance. Since Wally is our designated entertainment director, he came up with the idea that we should do a skit in Chinese so the students could have a good laugh over our butchering Chinese pronunciation. So after lunch we practiced 3 Chinese tongue twisters and moved to the hotel mezzanine to practice a couple of swing steps and a few twist moves. The music for swing and the twist was to be downloaded from Wally's computer. This turned out to be quite a task. It took me over an hour to download and install iTunes onto his laptop. Rock around the Clock and The Twist are downloaded and we are ready for Friday - - our farewell party.

Before our evening feeding we had a little celebration in Claudia and Maggie's room. Thanks to Wally. As the evening progressed, Wally's English sort of vanished and he was speaking more and more in the native tongue -- Chinese. At dinner we had a wonderful disagreement and yet friendly discussion of our favorite subject "politics" which we had avoided for the entire 3 weeks. We demonstrated to Baoli how civilized we were not to kill each other when we disagreed. The truth is we do tolerate each other and like each other at the same time. In our mind, Team 187is the "A" team, the "Dream Team."

- Marcella