Happy Teachers Day!

Trip Start Aug 23, 2007
Trip End Jul 31, 2008

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

In addition to our long entry on Shanghai, we thought you may like a brief update on our teaching endeavors in Anji.  Last week was our first full week of classes.  As expected, each day proves more and more challenging.  The language skills of our students are so varied that it is hard to challenge the smart ones, while try and even engage the weaker students.  Because it was the first full week, the students attended a school wide welcome ceremony which involved raising of the Chinese flag and listening to the school's headmaster discuss the school's history and expectations of the students.  Well, we think this is what they said amidst the Chinese rants. The highlight of last week had to be Teachers Day.  Let's just say the Chinese have mastered this holiday and do it much better than I've ever seen in America.  September 10th was the official day, but as we were on holiday, we were given our gifts early.  Individual students, classrooms, and the school shower the teachers with gifts to celebrate their appreciation for us.  The variety of the gifts were quite interesting as well.  Laurie received an enormous bouquet of flowers, chocolate, a photo album, a huge box of milk, shampoo (2 bottles), and mass amounts of fruit.  Kevin was given a box of yogurt, more shampoo, a beautiful pottery set (vase/plate/bowl), also a photo album, some green tea soap, a calligraphy set, and a cool mask ornament.  The school also gave us both a little cash bonus!  It was truly like Christmas in September.
Classes also ended early on the day before break for a full fledged teacher/student activity in the afternoon.  Laurie played in a female teacher basketball match while Kevin showed off his moves in a teacher vs. student match.  Let us just say the male competition was much more enjoyable to watch and actually resembled what one would expect from a basketball game.  The students are fascinated with his b-ball abilities, especially his vertical range.  He did disappoint a few because he didn't dunk during the game.   I guess he wanted to leave them wanting more.  It is now official that he is the most popular man on campus.  The young women have developed many crushes on the tall laowei!  Looks like there is some competition!

The majority of the students continue to be a joy in and out of class.  We are having a great time getting to know them better.  They absolutely love taking pictures of us while we try and teach.  Though we have finally managed to bargain with them to wait until after class.  They still love the Nixon style peace signs so we've begun to succumb to the madness and flash it as well.  As we are learning, each day is an adventure with many unexpected bumps that must be overcome.  I don't think we will ever stop learning.

A more comprehensive photo collection can be seen at the following link:
http://lehigh.facebook.com/album.php?aid=14191&l=49c84&a mp;a mp;a mp;id=566433899
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