Well, this last week of teaching has been a whirlwind, but it's been wonderful. We've started a new discipline system called "strikes" and it's really improved our kid's behavior. So, I don't know how much of our teaching program I've told you about, but basically, we plan activities to do with our kids and get them to speak English while doing it. For example, last week I read them the story of Snow White and we acted out eating the poison apple. I made paper apples and handed them out to the kids after they each said: "I want an apple!" As we pretended to eat the apple, I had them say: "We are eating the apple" or "He is not eating the apple." Basically, the whole lesson goes on in that sort of manner. Every time the kid says something in English, you "token" them, which mean's they get a little bead. At the end of every day, I count tokens with my homeroom and at the end of every week, we do store, where they can cash in their tokens for prizes. ANYWAY, the strike system basically is: "three strikes, no store, and you lose all your tokens from that week." It took us a little while to get the kids to completely understand the strike system, but after we gave out the first few, it became REALLY effective (well, for most kids). There are still a select few who do not care if they lose their tokens; and we had one kid get to four strikes by Friday, because he was being so bad. (I stuck him in the corner for a whole class because he slammed the door in my face. Ninny).
Anyway, on Thursday, my second period homeroom came in (my favorites!) and Travis looked like he was on the verge of tears. I asked what was wrong, and Walter told me that Teacher Erica had given him a strike! When I asked why, none of the kids knew what Travis had done to gain him a strike. Travis started crying and it just broke my heart. I tried to explain to him that he would still get store because it was his first strike, but he was just so upset. Walter, bless his heart, went over and patted his back and kept on saying: "It's okay!" and then explained to him in Chinese that he would still get store (or at least, I think that's what he was saying). I didn't even stop him from speaking Chinese because I just wanted Travis to understand that it was okay. Travis calmed down after that and my homeroom all gave me high fives and hugs before they left for the day. I have to say though, watching Walter console his friend was so precious and all's I could think of was how much I wanted to be like him in that moment: to care and love everyone around me that much and to want them to be happy. I seriously believe that these kids are teaching me far more than I will ever teach them.
I get to teach basic reading these next two weeks; so I'll be doing worksheets and singing the ABC's and playing word games. YES! I'm excited to take a break from SPE's (the activity centered lessons) because they require a lot of planning and can be utterly exhausting. Plus, the older kids LOVE practicing their writing and letters. I started teaching basic reading today with them and after I said: "Today we're going to write some sentences!" Mary jumped up in excitement and said: "TEECHA, I LOVE YOU!" Happy days!
1. One of our most misbehaved children is named William. We all refer to him as "Asian Harry Potter." He is a terror and nothing at all like Harry Potter except in looks and in awkward hair cuts. The strike system does NOT work for him. 2. One of my favorite first period kids, Madison, always gives me really weird anime-cartoon stickers and puts them right on the back of my hand. One day, Laura (a girl in the class after Madison) pointed to it and asked me what it was. I said: "Madison gave it to me!" and she said: "That's because Madison loves you." Yeah, I pretty much melted into a puddle of mush right on the spot. Today, she gave me a heart sticker with a picture of a hot dog on it. The words said: "Magic Love." Typical Chinglish, right there. 3. On Thursday, it was Chinese Woman's Day. I guess they celebrate woman, but I didn't really understand the whole point of it when Kelly tried to explain it to us. Regardless, the school treated us out to dinner at a restaurant called Hot Pot. Basically, you sit around this table with a hot plate built into the middle that heats up a giant bowl of broth and then they bring you PLATE after PLATE after PLATE of meats, veggies and seafood for you to cook in the broth. I've never eaten so much, and it was delicious!
4. We went into the city yesterday and walked around for a bit. We found this little restaurant that served us family style; which means you order five or six plates of food and they put them on a spinning table in the middle of your table and you just pull from it and eat what you want. It was DELICIOUS! We had dumplings, potatoes, chicken, sautéed green beans, onions and corn and rice. A bunch of super drunk men came over and asked if they could take pictures with all of the girls. That was weird. But this is also China.
5. Kelly (foreign coordinator) has an "in" at a Jade factory and is taking us there on Friday! Cool!
OH! We're going to the zoo this weekend and I might get to feed a baby tiger and hold a baby panda! I'M SO EXCITED! Definitely will take tons of photos on that adventure.