We made it to 1 month!
Trip Start May 05, 2012
54Trip End Mar 01, 2013
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We haven't been able to do much exploring this week, we have been staying at home recovering from colds and in my case (Steph) a tummy bug. However we have been well enough to still go to work and our Chinese classes.
Our Chinese is going well, we are still learning lots of new vocabulary and structures each day though, and it is hard to remember all of it! It is fun knowing that we can now construct more and more complex sentences with the vocab we have, even if we are still limited in what we can talk about.
Teaching has been good this week
Thinking these kids needed to burn off some energy I designed a flash card game to get them all moving. We were learning the letter 'W', so I stuck flash cards up in the found corners of the room (Water, Wet, Window and Worm). I then got them to put their hands on their heads (so they couldn't push each other) and then run, skip, hop or jump to the flashcard that I called. They loved it. However, I tried to change it up at bit by getting them to put their fingers on their noses, mouths and ears
My oldest class is a maths class of 10 year olds. Every four weeks we get to do a science class. My first two classes with them were sciences classes which were quite interesting- this week however I was teaching them subtraction with 3 numbers. For example: 376-218. I started the class off by playing Black or White by Michael Jackson, a song they had all heard but didn't understand and got them to talk about the words and what they meant- eg black and white refers to skin colour, and what does baby mean in this context?- which they all seem to enjoy, and then got stuck into the maths.
I must admit that I had to relearn how to subtract larger numbers. Isn't that terrible?? Once I reviewed it I could do it easily, and luckily the kids all knew how to do it and were very good at it so I didn't have to teach it, just ask the questions.
I haven't done any maths without a calculator since probably fourth form- These kids (and my TA) were super fast- I'll probably end up learning a lot more maths while I'm here!
This class is way too cool for the normal games that I would play with younger kids and are not bribed by stickers so it can be a bit hard to get them motivated
I have never seen the class concentrate so hard! They loved it. It got a bit intense for the final question and in the end one team won by one point. The kids hate to loose and the loosing team was very disappointed. I might have to give them a lecture on good sportsmanship! I think I will try and make some games like this for their classes each week, it was really good to see them really get into the class.
I also got my very own class this week (meaning that I am the first teacher for the class and begin from the start of the syllabus). My class is a Yippee Blue, which means that the students have completed the Yippee Red and Green programs, or that they are at a level to be able to do Yippee Blue. The students are all 5 or 6 years old, and the ones that turned up to the opening ceremony at least are super cute! - Only 4 of the 8 enrolled turned up. The opening ceremony is fun. We play some games, go through the rules of the classroom and play some more games
In the week just been I [Evan] had a PCA (the classes where the parents turn up and we just play games) where none of the parents turned up. It was great! The kids were eager to learn and the games went well. In this class I have one little girl who has been so shy that she never raises her hand to join in activities and barely mutters a word when I ask her a question one on one. However this particular day she decided to come out of her shell and get involved. I thought this was great and so at the first break time I decided to encourage this further by giving her and her friend a ball to play with. What a mistake! The shy quite child suddenly disappeared replaced instead with squealing sprinting maddness. The two girls started tearing up and down the class chasing after this ball and of course the other kids joined in thinking it looked like a great game! The TA was horrified and so was I when they started trying to rip the ball from each others hands. We got it back but the running and squealing kept going (which in all fairness is OK as it was happy noises and better to let them burn their extra energy in the breaks - )
We got it cleaned up but I will admit I had to stop myself form laughing. I remember quite clearly when we were little and Mum or Grandma telling us not to get to excited after having a meal as we would throw up. I never thought it might happen but there you go!
On Sunday I [Evan] had a large gap between classes and so decided to take a walk up to the Tianjin Water Park. Its about a 20min walk up the road from where we work but it is actually really lovely. I took some photos on my phone but please forgive me if they don't turn out the best. It is like a large park in NZ but with a massive man-made lake and a network of man-made islands to match. There were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine and heat of the day and lots of people boating on the water. You wouldn't want to do much more than sail as the water is a dark brown and even the ducks seemed happier out of it. It was nice to enjoy a bit of "nature" in the centre of such an imposing city. I managed to get back to the school just in time as not long after I got back a massive thunder storm rolled in and the heavens opened. My last class of the day was even cancelled as the parents decided they did not want to brave the rain to get to class!
The weather is back to its usual now (eg. stinking hot) and we are both recovered from our unhealthy week. Hopefully we can do some more this week (although we are out of water again so will have to waste some time waiting for a water delivery!), and can get all of our bills paid. Paying for our phone and internet is bound to be an adventure, hopefully our Chinese is good enough to get us through with lots of supplementary hand gestures!