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Hey everyone, I (David) am very tired so am going to keep this brief.  I was exhausted most of the day today, mainly due to staying up until 3am so I could watch Georgetown beat our arch rivals, Syracuse, and I also had to wake up early to go teach at my first public school.  It was about a 10 minute bike ride to the public kindergarten, and I was met and ushered around by a nice girl who gave me a list of words to teach the kids.  The words for the very little kids were lemon, mango, and kiwi, which was easy enough to get them to say.  With no pictures, no idea how to say them in Chinese, no anything, I don’t think they really will retain this knowledge, however.  For the older students, I had a very long and complicated story to teach them, of which I think they probably understood 5% of the words.  This is a major problem with the lesson plans for teaching English to kids abroad, at least in China; the lesson plans are often written by someone who has a very slight grasp of the English language themselves.  Children at an English speaking elementary school would not have understood 25% of the story, yet somehow these kids that know maybe 30 total words of English will understand it?!  It doesn’t make much sense.  So I told the school not to prepare anything for me, because I would prepare my own lesson plans for them.  They seemed very relieved by this, and it shouldn’t be hard to do.  I think it will work much better, and that way I do not have to teach lemon, mango, and kiwi for 30 minutes straight…

I had another class at a different public school which also went well.  It is pretty bizarre thinking that the schools just want a foreigner that speaks English to come in, with absolutely nothing prepared, and just “teach” a class for 30 minutes.  It makes the parents happy though, and all of the teachers were encouraging me to teach the kids words that they could then discuss with their parents.  They were very well behaved overall, only getting out of control when the games I played with them got more competitive.  They really do go crazy in competition.  Everyone is crushed if they lose, and the victors all cheer with one another and take it very seriously.  It makes you understand why athletes have so much pressure to perform, and also why China would be willing to cheat (I am not saying they cheated (but it sure seemed that way)) in competitions like the Olympics (the underage female gymnasts).  They really pride themselves in performing well in competition, and are ashamed of losing.  It gets pretty intense.

After these classes, I had a demo class at our school, just a free class for kids that want a little something extra.  I just played 3 different games with the kids, and they were a little shy at first, but got pretty crazy by the end.  It is difficult for me to read the Chinese people that I have met, because they respond to things differently than most Americans would.  This is enunciated because sarcasm is something that the Chinese really do not pick up on.  So you have to be careful, because the Chinese don’t kid around.  They will come right up to you and say, “You are so handsome”,”You are so beautiful”, or “She is more beautiful than you” (a student said this to a pretty teacher at the school in reference to Erin).  So it is hard to tell if something offends them, confuses them, or excites them, but when everyone was screaming answers during the 3rd game, I could tell that they were enjoying it.  We then went out to eat with one of our Co/Chinese Teachers, Ada, and her husband, Liu.  They are both very cool and we had a good dinner.  We are both ready for bed though, so we will have to add pictures of our neighborhood another day.  A full day of teaching awaits us tomorrow, so it might not be until Monday.  Hope all is well with ye and all of your kin, go HOYAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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