Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A blessed day

            After having one of those gloomy days where you contemplate what your doing with your life and wishing for those better days I sat in my room all alone just thinking.  Worn out from the obnoxious kids and the overload of schoolwork, with so many things going through my heads it has given me some insomnia over the past few nights. Exhausted from lack of sleep, my motivation to teach the kids with enthusiasm was at a bare minimal. I arrived to class on Monday, already tired from working this past weekend to make up for the holidays in a sluggish mode.  Little did I know, that God was watching over me and would soon answer my prayers throughout the day. After teaching one of my pre-school classes flawlessly and actually running out of time to teach, it was a complete 180 of what their last class was which included them not knowing their vocabulary and running and yelling all over the place. As I transferred to go to my other school, I went into another one of my preschool classes to find that the main teacher was out and that her assistant had given the kids a coloring sheet to work on. Unsure what to do, I asked to see when I should start teaching, to my surprise she said that I should just walk around and play with the kids, only talking to them in English, which was simple enough and very enjoyable. I went to my next class of preschoolers and they were running behind schedule, rather than my 30 minute class that I normally have, it was cut down to 15 and for once they was very calm for the most part.
After that class, I had another 30-minute session to teach English to some of the teachers. Normally a struggle to be productive during this time, since it is a break away from the students, they typically like talk to one another in Chinese, some of which I think they gossip about me since I am Chinese yet I can’t speak the language. But unlike my past encounters, today they were vary curious to learn English and were asking questions about what to talk about rather than me trying to make up basic phrases and sentences. It seemed more of a hanging out session than a teaching a class because they were enjoyable and were comforting with their words. Having taught in most of the teacher’s classes, I have been concerned about if they like me or not. While the kids for the most part seem to enjoy my presence, the Chinese teachers haven’t been so obvious with their actions and many times watch me like a hawk, making notes of everything I do. Being new to teaching and to the school, I have been trying really hard to get on their good side as I have heard through others that it is very difficult to teach when the Chinese teachers are on your bad side, and that some purposely do things to make your teaching more difficult.
But today some of them expressed their gratitude for me and in their classes had their students say nice things randomly out of the blue. If I were to have a picture perfect day teaching, this would be the day. Everything was going in the right direction and one good thing after another was happening. During my session teaching the teachers, we talked about bowza (a steamed bun with meat inside of it) and how I liked it and one of the teachers said I should go get some. Thinking they were making fun of my pronunciation of the word as they all talked in Chinese and laughed, I doubted my Chinese and myself but tried to shake it off.  Normally I teach grade 1 class 2 after my session with the teacher but today it switched and I taught grade 1 class 1. This is my favorite class to teach because the kids are so well behaved and are smart and the cutest ones I think.  After teaching for about 15 minutes, the teacher interrupts me and asks if I had lunch. At this time it was around noon. I replied to her that I hadn’t and she insisted that I stop teaching and go eat. Feeling bad that I hadn’t taught the 30-minute class, I continued to teach and figured I would just wait to eat afterwards. As I carried on teaching she went downstairs and got me food from the cafeteria. She arrived back in class and handed it to me telling me to go eat and that it would be enough for the day.
Later during my lunch break, one of the assistant teachers came into my office and brought in a bag filled with bowza. I was touched by the generosity but it was anonymous who bought them when I asked.  After lunch, I had have a 2 and a half hour break so I decided to lay down and take a nap and “get some rest” as they like to call it. Sleeping most of the break I got a nice little nap in. I went into my last class to teach, normally it is the one I teach before lunch but today they switched it and it was my last class of the day. The teacher let the kids sleep longer than normal and so when I arrived she didn’t hand me a stack of flashcards like she normally does, but rather said talk to them in English and tell them they need to go  “peepee” and to go eat their snack. As I waited for them to get out of their beds (In every classroom there is a side bedroom filled with beds that is assigned specifically to each kid), some of the kids were so excited to see me that they rolled out of bed to greet me and forgot to put on their pants. For the remaining part of the class period I just hung out and talked with them in English as they ate their snack.
After all the stress and worrying it seemed that so many of questions that I had about work were answered one after another. While some still remain, it was reassuring that my work and presence was valued at the school. It was such a blessing to essentially have a day off and to relax and not have to keep up with the kids.
To top off my wonderful Monday I came home and took another nap and help the try and catch up on some sleep. Although I had no motivation, I got myself out of bed and headed to the gym with Miles, one of my roommates, since I had not been in a couple of days and have been sidetracked with the holiday.
After the gym we met up with our other roommates and had our weekly Monday night dinner together at Blue Frog. It was a nice ending to a picture perfect day. It’s amazing how much of a positive impact today played on me and how much my spirits were lifted. I truly have been blessed.

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