Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thank God for Simon

Me and my assistant, sunny
Ok, where was I? It seems like twenty years ago I was writing about winning the million dollar prize and leaving the toaster oven we are in day four of teaching and I am experiencing sensory overload as to what to write about.

So I walk into three different classrooms the first day, and we are told to give them English names. Dr. Lee (The Farter) told us at orientation that they may be very very quiet and shy. Another interesting thing to say! They did not stand when I entered, but they did clap. They are energetic and friendly, and TALKATIVE. They must be engaged, just like any students, anywhere. So just let me say that there are many Chinese children with YOUR names now...I used the name of every person I had ever met to get through that first day (the cutest kids were named Megan, Nolan and Devon). Some of them already had English names, but we are curious as to who named them..."Rucy" was one and "Qi Qi' another. Rucy was having nothing to do with the correct pronunciation of her name. Most difficult name: Troy! They could not say it! I was told to use a lot of repetition, so we practiced names and went through "Hello my name is______" Honestly, it is all a blur! At the end of the first day we were told that our schedules would be different the next day and that the "curriculum" was not ready yet; "just make up some fun things" we were told by Pamela, our Chinese coordinator (we all think she is loaded because you should see what she wears!)

So I just have to say "Thank you to Simon" whoever he is...I played Simon Says with every class and they loved it! One class' air conditioner was broken, so who needed an aerobic work out? My assistant, Sunny, is very helpful and translates for me. In Deqing (Chichalashitty equivalent, Karrie) they have no assistants and classes of 50! We have a break room where everyone, teachers and assistants, congregate to say the equal of "holy______!" between classes.

So this week, we have had six classes of 30 kids each. Today we were told that our schedules change again tomorrow so that we have only three classes, two times. I am disappointed with this as I LOVE my third and fourth graders and I have lost all of them and gained only fifth and sixth graders. I am quite sure that sixth graders are universally a bit nasty (but I will not actively research this theory).

We finally got our "curriculum yesterday; we were so excited for it because we thought we could finally relax and not have to make everything up. Well, it is a stupid curriculum so I guess we will continue to pull things out of whevever we can!

The kids are eager, cute and friendly. Today I asked them if they had any questions for me..."Why are your eyes blue?" "Are you of the yellow skinned people or white?" "What do you do in America? Is that your natural hair color? What does your family do?" I told them my brother worked for Bill Gates and they all said "Ahhhhhh!" (well, he used to!) I told them he was my neighbor in Seattle but that he had more money and they laughed. I am utilizing pictionary, charades...everything, in fact:

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