David and I both had classes this morning. Mine went well, as did his. We just love how responsive these students are. Today, I guess I am kind of slow, but it dawned on me that the reason they hang on every word I say (or seem to) is because they are trying to decipher what I am saying. They want to know, they want to learn and I figure after the first day or so, they should be able to catch on, but they can’t that fast. Two hours a week trying to understand a teacher who speaks a language that they have limited knowledge about is better than just a Chinese teacher speaking broken English, but they need more guidance and scaffolding. I will try to remember to slow down more and break down the words better. What they say in English is also different because the sound of pinyin (the Romanized spelling of their Chinese words) does not always match the sounds we have in English. For example, “I” has an “ee” sound in pinyin. An “a” has an “ah” sound. Neither matches very often with how we say those sounds in English. They want to learn and do their best. I will try to be better.
I had students doing “Two Minute Presentations” in class today. This was the first time for this activity. I want them to speak on things that are Chinese. I gave them the instruction to tell me things about China that they would like me to know. I had presentations of food, swords, history, political and patriotic ideas. Some told me about their home towns or provinces. It was all interesting. I had fun with it and I think some them had fun planning what they wanted to teach me about.
One of the funnier presentations was a girl who loves to eat. Alice wanted to do a presentation on how to cook DeZhou Chicken. It is a specialty where she comes from. One of the first instructions was to kill a chicken! She felt that as medical students (all my students are medical students, from dentists to pediatricians to research), they should all be able to do this and practice for their future in medicine. I should also have you know that they had just had a lab a few days ago that they had to kill and dissect a frog. She was hilarious and we all enjoyed her presentation!
I also taught my sophomore class this afternoon. David came the last three minutes, and even though the dismissal bells rang before we got to sing one song, they all wanted to stay and hear a song. They just seem to love that.