Last Days

It has been a wild  couple weeks since I last posted.

School is wrapping up and that means a lot of work but now that I am done with the work its trying to have fun with the students for the last week. 

I was in a photo exhibition on the 28th. It was a show that is part of a photo club I belong to called SIFC. We were asked to pick a photo from the last year since the club formed. I selected the picture of my son Carter being annoyed by a very loud chair salesman in my wife’s hometown. His expression is great and I love this photo. I took it on my cell phone but cell phones can take good photos these days. The event was nice we all had a chance to talk about our photo and why we chose it. It was an afternoon filled with photo discussion and good cheer.

The week of June 30th – April 2nd was EL week. EL stands for experiential learning and used to be called week without walls. The idea is that students get a chance to learn things that aren’t taught in the typical classroom. In the past this meant anything from overseas trips to a week of local day trips. With covid it means a lot more local trips and a few trips in surrounding parts of Mainland China. The trips are less glamorous then they used to be but the teachers tried to offer something interesting with the options we had. There were a ton of different things from outdoor survival, cooking, computer building, soccer, to sewing. Lots of interesting opportunities. I was originally head of the ecological group that would learn what Shenzhen does to try and help be more earth friendly. I was excited about it but unfortunately the kids were not. So I was put on a group called China Arts and Culture trip. The teachers already running the group were awesome and I was super happy to contribute to a successful week with them. The students on this trip were in 3rd to 5th grade and we had 29 students. I went into the week saying I needed to be ready to help, be a great team player, think on my feet, have a positive attitude, have a good time, and work to help the kids have a good time. I think I might need to talk about positive thinking with my classes in the future. A few had trouble embracing the experiences.We sometimes need to learn to get out of our own way. We went to Gankeng Village for the first 2 days. Gankeng VIllage is an old Hakka village that is now a tourist attraction. While we were there we got to learn about block printing, farming, chopstick making, eat a traditional Hakka feast (the second day we had a traditional KFC feast), and tie dye. We also got to experience hat painting, that seemed like an activity and less a learning experience but I still enjoyed it. The 3rd day we spent at school creating powerpoints about the trip, eating pizza, doing little art activities, and watching Over the Moon. This was supposed to be a trampoline park day but we changed it because June 1st is Children’s Day in China so the trampoline park said it would be very crowded. Children’s Day is a huge deal here and it means presents and fun outings for the most part. I suppose its nice but there is an argument that pretty much every day is already children’s day for a few of my students. On the 4th day we went to that trampoline park and the kids jumped, climbed, and slid the day away. It was not a place I was in love with but I would have been as a kid so I understood their enthusiasm. I got to do all the things with the kids and that was fun. Friday was a holiday so we didn’t have school. 

Outside of school… Thursday evening I had a meetup with a friend and we chatted the evening away. Friday’s biggest event was a going away/wedding celebration for a couple that are leaving China for good this year. Then Saturday I did some summer school planning and met up with a friend. On Sunday, I cleaned a second hand fridge up and swapped out our old one with it. Then we headed to the mall to get some new shoes for me (mine were old and have been squeaking with every step for months), went to a Xian style restaurant for dinner, and played in the park until way too late.

On the horizon… Next weekend is the release of the SQR group’s poetry anthology party and I am excited to have 2 poems in it. Summer School starts next week and I teach a group of 6 year olds for 5 weeks. We have themes and will try to make it fun for them. I feel a little overwhelmed planning it but it will work out. Then the next weekend I have a meet up with the SIFC group on Saturday and a pop show with my ISZAF gang on Sunday. I hope to share some experiences with you.

Just a note, I obscured the faces in school events because I do not want to publish pictures of students without permission and I do not want to ask for permission. I just made it so you can’t see who they are.

This blog should have posted last week but things got busy. So I will add a little bit here.

The school year ended and my brain began shifting towards summer school. we had to be at school on Saturday anyway so I did a little planning. Then I headed to the poetry book event.

The book is beautiful and I am proud to be a part of it. The people that managed to get it together did nicely. The event was fun. We were asked to read our poem(s) from the book. I broke the rules and read a new poem but after getting a look from the main person behind the event and the book I read one from the book too.

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