Where did the time go? An unforgettable week is to end soon :(

Thought for the day:

“Throw your teeth on the roof”


Our week of teaching and volunteering in Kunming has come to an end.  Where did the time go?  Only six short days ago we were pushing through jet lag and brainstorming (or as one of our student teachers appropriately called it – braintornado-ing) lesson plan activities for over 60 teachers from around the region. Now we are preparing for the closing ceremony.

MarcelaHaving taught secondary English with the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and having organized various teacher-training workshops for the English teachers in my small town, I imagined teaching in Kunming would be much of the same. What I found was that this group of young women (and two men) have a very different set of challenges. Yes, dictation, dictation, dictation and rote memorization are also common practice, and communicating needs to school directors and more experienced teachers can be daunting.  Chinese teachers, however, are also battling class sizes of over 60 students, insufficient teaching time, few resources, and little support.  Nonetheless, our bright and ambitious teachers have been eager to practice their English, learn new teaching strategies, as well as learn about where we come from.  Throughout the week, my teaching partner, Luke, and I worked to strike a balance between the various interests, as well as the varying levels of English in our classroom.

Trying the local specialty - fried crickets!

Trying the local specialty – fried crickets!

As expected, there has also been a much intercultural exchange.  Yesterday, Karen, Marcela and I shared and discussed scenes from the classic film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and listened as the room filled with laughter.  I also learned that the tooth fairy doesn’t visit young children in China.   Nope, they just throw their teeth on the roof!   It’s been an unforgettable week filled with great conversations, mutual learning, cultural exchange, and laughter.

There has also been a lot of laughter outside of Kunming University.  From a group photo-op eating crunchy crickets to losing Karen in the local markets, it’s been a wonderful and inspiring adventure.  I get an overwhelming sensation when I think about all that we have accomplished and learned in such a short week.  Overall, it has been refreshing to be back in a classroom, and engaging with eager teachers.  I’m anxious to share my experience and stories with friends back home.


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