Every day is Made Brighter by all the Smiles we see

Journal for March 18, 2015

Message of the day:

We ought to think that we are one of the leaves of a tree, and the tree is all humanity. We cannot live without the others, without the tree.”  Pablo Casals

Morning started out with a bit of excitement in the breakfast area. LuRue got to breakfast earlier than usual and found Don getting his food amidst a sea of navy blue uniforms, trousers tucked into boots. We are guessing there were about 35 SWAT team members swarming around…eating, getting food, walking to tables. All were gone by 7:00am. We speculated that they might be there for training.

Montana was feeling better, but had decided that she should take another day to make sure that her ailment is totally under control.

DSCN3551Our arrival at the school was delayed due to a stalled car, causing backed-up traffic for a very long time. No sign of a second vehicle, but two policemen were on the scene.

Don took 10 of LuRue’s students to join his second meeting with the Tourism Class. His assignment was for the students to direct potential tourists to different attractions around the San Francisco area. He said that only a couple of the new people were able to participate at all. We are learning that there is quite a difference in the abilities and the motivation of the students…those who are counting on English to get a job and those who are taking a required subject. This has meant constantly readjusting our lesson plans to meet the needs. Fortunately the teachers have been willing to give us feedback on what is working, what is too difficult, and what is too boring. Unfortunately, we will never see the same students again so they will not benefit from any improvements we are able to make.

LuRue’s first class was all boys learning surveying and related skills. The pronunciation lesson prepared was very difficult for them, such as the difference between the long e and short i sounds, as in “heel” and “hill”. Even though everyone got a chance to participate, there was too much sitting around for the rest of them. Montana and LuRue will begin preparing more action games and activities to make it more fun.

The second session was another surveying class and Don joined us. The pronunciation class was cut way back this time, then Don took half of them to another table to practice more words. LuRue called on a few individuals to speak aloud, then decided to jump to Simon Says. She could see that the students were not understanding her directions on how to play, so she went to the teacher, Mr. Zhang aka “John Wayne”, for help in explaining. The “rules” were explained again and this time there was lively participation. LuRue tried her most rapid commands, but could trick only a few students. Don joined in and added a few more complex commands, but the students were very good.DSCN3589

We moved on to “Hokey Pokey” with Don’s poster of the words, along with acting out of the words. Then we had everyone move to another part of the library where there was space large enough for a very large circle. The students followed the moves, but only a very few voices were heard. After a couple of nearly solo performances, LuRue asked John Wayne to encourage the students to sing along as they performed the moves. (We are learning that having girls in the class makes a big difference!) They did, and so did John Wayne! We later complimented him on his participation. Then Don brought out his poster of “I’m a Little Teapot” which we sang a few times, again after John Wayne’s help.

Ms Shi (Vice-Director of Basic Education Department), Tracy and Alice (two English teachers) accompanied us back to the hotel. They wanted to see Montana, bringing her a very beautiful bouquet of flowers and a large bag of fruit. Montana was feeling a little overwhelmed, but very appreciative of their kindness.

After lunch, Baoli hailed a taxi for herself, Don, and LuRue so that all could return to the Global Volunteers “office” where more supplies could be collected. After three days of classes, the needs are becoming more clear and we came back with armloads of things.

After dinner, LuRue and Montana prepared more materials for tomorrow & made a schedule for the day. This one will be shorter times on each activity and more team contests. They also enjoyed some of the fruit brought to them by the teachers.

Every day is made brighter by all the smiles we see.



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