Our First Day of Teaching

China Team 218 Journal for Monday October 12, 2015

Message of the Day: Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment of the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  Leo Buscaglia

9-time GLobal Volunteer Claudia at Xi’an Biomedical Techinical College

A sunny morning and ample breakfast fueled the team as they departed for their1st day of teaching at the High Tech College [Carolyn & Jo Carol] and Xi’an Biomedical Technical College [Mary & Claudia]. Traffic jams delayed Mary & me from arriving on time so we rushed to our classrooms. Although the college had   been displaced & was in new shared accommodations, the welcome banner was in place over the building entrance and our reception was warm and sincere. Carolyn & Jo Carol were received by the High Tech President, Dean, other officials and students.  An electric Welcome banner flashed greetings. The volunteers at both colleges were impressed by the inclusive atmosphere of collegiality and the kind words of welcome.

Since the teams had met with host teachers on Sunday, they had some idea of what was expected of them and had prepared lessons and activities.  Mary & I taught in moderately large classrooms which were filled with 20-30 students, mostly young women.  It was an exceptional “turnout” since these students were attending a class on the morning of their “free day.”  We were told by Julia Dong that they were members of the “English Lovers” club and often met and worked together to practice their English skills.

Students at The High-tech College

Students at The High-tech College

Both colleges requested that GV members emphasize conversation to improve listening and speaking skills. Utilizing information about ourselves (where we lived, our families, occupation, etc.) and from our students’ comments as they did the same, team members wove this material into verbal introductions, short topical conversations and answering questions, all in complete sentences.

As students participated, we listened for pronunciation problems and made note of other items to address. Our GV team of 4, having different backgrounds and experience of teaching, used various topics and methods to accomplish the goal of expanding student English facility while making the learning experience enjoyable.  Games, team competition, and songs – topics such as geography, animals, sports, clothing styles were employed and students responded with enthusiasm. Carolyn was a hit with her rendition of “there was an old lady who swallowed a fly,” and a young man in Carolyn’s class sang a beautiful love song.


Volunteer Jo Carol enjoys teaching at Xi’an High-tech College

The morning passed quickly and after the usual photo opp’s, we returned from our colleges to the hotel for lunch and errands.  Before dinner we met with Wang Baoli for a lesson on Chinese language history and speech. Needless to say, the intricacies of Mandarin and the sounds, many so different from any English vocalization, resulted in lots of laughter and necessary translation! But increased greatly our understanding and respect for those Chinese teachers and students who struggle with English.

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