In terms of my teaching in general, I'm starting to get used to the students and the way they think, which is much different than the way American students think. For one, they believe that it's the teacher's job to spoon feed them the content they need to know. Skills that we try to teach our students in America such as critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership are absolutely meaningless here. I asked how many of my PhD students had ever given an oral presentation in a classroom before. NONE of them ever had. To me, that's nuts. If surviving in the real world had anything to do with memorizing book content, American students would be in real trouble and the Chinese would take over the world as the new global superpower because American students can't remember a fourth of the content taught in our classrooms. I think the reason our students succeed is a certain level of adaptability that comes from practicing some of those skills I mentioned above.
My work with the American Studies Center is moving forward. The Foreign Studies College, where our center will be housed, is currently painting the room and refinishing and/or purchasing the furniture. A delegation from SUU will be arriving in early January for the grand opening, but in the mean time, we recently had an activity teaching HNU students how to play baseball. We have planned upcoming activities for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. The process has been a little slow because all of the decisions related to the center are made by committee, which creates a sense of group cohesion, but can sometimes come at a snail's pace.
8. Having to take the bus everywhere.
Things we will miss when we leave China:
1. Tremendous kindness of the people
2. Baozi (steamed buns with meat)
3. Not having to drive ourselves everywhere.
4. Chinese chess
5. Lush vegetation
6. Virtual church branch (only 1 or 2 hours of meetings depending on which classes are taught that week).
7. Singing and dancing in the streets (Americans are too image conscious).
8. 10 yuan haircuts ($1.64). Often they come with a shampoo and a head massage. You can't beat that!
Here is a funny video of the family visit to my class:
|Zhū jiǎo (pig's feet). Actually very flavorful, but a little fat as you might expect and very hard to pick up with chopsticks because they are heavy.|
|We will miss these baozi (steamed meat buns) when we get home. We eat these pretty often.|
|Another guy rockin' the jammies and more cars and scooters on the sidewalk.|
|Our pumpkin...er...watermelon carving party. I like this picture because the Sorensen's girl Eva looks so cute as a panda.|
|One of the major difficulties of carving watermelons instead of pumpkins. They all cracked! But, it was much more delicious to eat the watermelon as you carved than the raw insides of a pumpkin.|
|We did what we could with what we could find at the metro. We've got masks, towels, and some kind of apron.|
|Nicol is a Rubix cube, Ezra is a bearded man, and nobody knows what Annie was but she looks cute.|
|You thought your Halloween was scary. Jay and I found these mannequin heads on the sidewalk as we walked toward campus.|
|I love the gender neutral nature of Chinese costumes. Who says a girl can't be Superman for Halloween.|
|Jay and I judged the Halloween contest and pretty much awarded the prizes to the kids that looked like they wanted it the most.|
|Ok, let's be completely honest here. Our candy is WAY better than their candy.|
|One swing of Jay's makeshift baseball bat (PVC pipe) and it was out of commission.|
|Everything needed for a good game of baseball in China. Chinese man (check), American (check), a tree branch for a bat (check).|
|The way these girls swung the bat, I thought they were naturals. Until they headed around the bases with the bat still in hand.|
|Our favorite section of the grocery store. Or perhaps I should say the most interesting. The smell is not pleasant.|
|Two beauties from worlds apart sitting together on a nice fall day.|
|The harbor at Jing Gang. Apparently this city used to be the seat of government during the Qing dynasty. Now, it's pretty much dead, with only a thousand villagers living here.|
|The dried fish for sale in Jing Gang.|
|The kids found cotton candy at Jing Gang. I so want that guy's outfit in the background.|
|Another good view of the harbor.|
|At first, we thought the soldiers on the fort were real, but they were just cutouts.|
|Hey, where's Lucy? Oh yeah, she hates China, Chinese people, and taking pictures.|
|Stacie was home with Evelynn who was sick, so we went to dinner without her. There is always a noticeable drop off in manners whenever mom is not around.|
|Because of the limited number of boys in our branch, we received special permission for Nicol at age 12 to be my home teaching companion. This is our second visit and it was a fun bus ride to the campus of Central South University.|
|So many bikes and one handsome young man.|
|Evelynn lost her very first tooth in China. She was ecstatic!|