um hopefully i’m getting the dates/days right…cuz i wrote them down wrong -_-
sorry for the length, but i think i’m writing this more for my own memory now rather than for my readers.
day 2- tuesday 6/13:
woke up to the loud and annoying brill of the bell at 6:30, followed by the thundering of hundreds of feet, teachers’ voices, and a loud song. everyone got used to this song… it played EVERY morning, and the kids ran around the courtyard-place while waiting for their fellow students to arrive/get ready. the boys ran in a line in one direction, while the girls ran in the opposite direction, inside the boys’ square. then the song stopped, and a boy’s voice rang through the air. everyone got in lines according to their grade and class (1-1,1-2, 2-1,etc). another song started, and they began doing their daily morning exercises. after 2 sets, the music stopped, and the kids marched in an orderly fashion to the cafeteria for breakfast (7 am). though we were cautioned to arrive ON TIME to everything, we usually arrived at about 7:30. by that time, most kids were off to their classrooms already, so we either ate amongst ourselves, or with the ones who didn’t finish yet. we ate bread especially bought and brought for us from the closest major village (20-30 min drive), with peanut butter or jelly that we brought ourselves, washed down with coffee or tea or any other asian hot drinks we brought along with us. our other choice was eating what the teachers ate, which included boiled eggs, some cucumber thing served at practically every meal, leftovers, and mantou (the white bun thingy).
morning devotion from 8:00-8:45 am in the conference room (our own room in the school, where we would go in between classes, for meetings, where we stayed most of the time) — worship songs (either in chinese or english, depending on who was leading), then a Bible passage + question/discussion, prayer. 8:45-9:00am was for preparation for those who were teaching 2nd period (our schedules changed from day to day).
yeah the above happened everyday, so i’ll just mention it once…
my schedule was to observe sherman 7th (class 5-2) and 8th (class 4-1) pds, for i would take over his 4-1 class and assist his 5-2 class – my dad would be our adult translator.
then comes the news that they accidentally skipped yesterday’s class. there was a mix-up over if they were having class, and i guess they thought they did, but we thought they didn’t. so their main teacher agreed we could make it up 2nd period. i was handed a stack of C and K worksheets and told that class would start in 5 minutes (the bell had already rung). sherman was taking a phone call from a family member – he didn’t know we had to teach 2nd pd – so my dad and i were pretty clueless. stephanie and my mom (translator) were walking out the door, so i went along with them (they had 4-2). steph showed me the way to my classroom, gave me some tips (“when doing blends, do ca,ke,ki,co,cu, not ce and ci”), and i walked in.
that was a nerve-wracking moment. the kids stared at me (probably wondering where sherman was, though i think they were prepared for a new teacher), then one (i later learned his name – manny; he was the class leader) stood up and said “STAND UP”. they all stood and chanted “GOOD MORNING TEACHER”. then they stared at me again. my great reply? “umm… hello”. then came some bumbling mandarin about how i would be their new teacher, how i just arrived the day before from the US.
i realized, after a while, that i had to tell them to sit, or they’d stand the whole time. so i waved my hands around, signaling them to sit. since i really had no clue what i was supposed to do, despite the helpful tips stephanie had given me, i just stared at the door for a bit, willing sherman to walk through. but no one came in, so i walked to the board and wrote Aa Ee Ii Oo Uu. then i turned and was like… [in mandarin] “can u guys tell me the names and pronunciations of these letters?” they responded as a class..really LOUDLY. then i wrote Cc Kk on the board, and luckily sherman showed up. he stood to the side until i was like… umm [stare] what do i do now? so he took over the rest of the class. it turned out that everyone taught their own way, some with songs, others with words, etc. there wasn’t really a wrong way.
when the bell rang, they continued to sit and listen, until sherman said [in mandarin] “class dismissed”, and manny stood, said STAND UP, and the class stood up and chanted GOOD-BYE TEACHER.
every day after 2nd period, the whole school goes out for recess for a few minutes. some fill their tin jugs with water, others run outside with ropes and do this complicated hopping game, others just play games outside, while music plays in the background.. (it was like christmas music with chinese words though…). then a bell rings, and they line up again (like in the morning). a boy is up on the platform, leading the way, as a different song blares out, and they exercise as a group again. a different set of jumps and steps and whatnot. the song ends, the boy yells for the students to look left and right to see if they’re in line, move so that everyone is in line, ordered, and a new song starts. the kung fu song. after kung fu, they have a few more minutes of recess, before the bell rings and they rush off back to 3rd pd. we spent those few minutes asking the kids to teach us the 19 steps of kung fu (we learned like…3 that day).
um 7th pd: sherman taught C+K and B+D while i observed and my dad translated.
8th pd: sherman taught D (since C+K and B were taught in 2nd pd) and played a game, took a class picture since i would take over the next day. o yeah. girls won, so i gave them 2 stickers each, while guys got 1 each. when i’d give them the stickers, they’d stand up and say “thank you”, bow, then sit down.
ok i’m out of words. the rest of the day was pretty routine. lunch at 12 (after 4th pd) – their lunch is from 12-3, though they finish eating by like 12:15; the rest of the time is for studying/hw/resting (sleep); some ppl had classes before/after lunch; dinner at 7 (after 8th pd); nightly reflection time/meeting/discussion of the next day’s events at 8:30; shower and sleep after the meeting.