Just a quick little post to let everybody know how things are going. Since I took over for a teacher that was leaving before his semester was over, my classes have pretty much involved the last 3 or so weeks of his 12 week semester, then I reviewed the material and gave a final, both written and oral. Pretty simple stuff really. Now, tomorrow for two of the classes I will have the parents come in and watch half my class and then I give a little presentation in which the kids show off what they have learned. I think they will probably do well, I’ve been drilling them on exactly what they will need to know in class. Then again, they are preschool age, so you never know. At this level they really don’t feel the pressure to get the language right in and of itself, they just want to make the teacher and the parents happy. With that said, if they clam up on me it could be a long lesson.
Towards the end of it all I read out a little presentation I have written on what they have learned, why and what the next steps are. The TA has a copy of what I will say and has translated it. She translated by hand this afternoon what all I prepared, spending a lot of time with their English/Chinese dictionary. I take my iPod with me to school, so I showed her Google Translate on Safari and she was taken aback, having never heard of the site or function. My iPod has a VPN installed so the censors aren’t much of a problem, I can freely use Google and whatever sites that may be blocked at any given moment. I don’t think most of the Chinese ever think much about using search engines or social media that isn’t approved by the state. They have their own Twitter, Sina Weibo, and their own Google, Baidu. So much productivity and creativity is lost due to the censorship, it’s stifling and Orwellian. I get the feeling they don’t realize how much they are being denied.
The weather here has been miserable, hot and humid with a bit of rain. The kids must have brought a little summer flu bug in because a couple teachers have it, but for now I seem to have escaped. I will continue to wash my hands fastidiously and hope for the best. Monday we have a seminar to learn some more teaching methods. We had a similar one last Monday in which several long time teachers got up and gave about 3-4 hours worth of lectures and interactives to give us some continuing education. I was skeptical at first, but everything was effective and was well worth the time.
That’s it for now, just a short post during the busy time of my week. Now I’ll try to post to my website, and if I can sneak past the censors I’ll read it on my blog, which is of course blocked in China.