China


Dear Friends and family,
 
Nihao!!  Hello!!!  I'm back once again in Chengdu, enjoying the wonderful air and the bright sunshine, well....sometimes.  Since it's getting into the cold winter months, we're seeing less and less of the sun, and more and more of the pollution.  Ah well.  It's still fun seeing the leaves turn colors and feeling the cool wind.  At least I don't have to rake any leaves!  The city takes care of that.
 
Good news!  we finally located a place last month suitable for our English classes!  Over about two weeks, the landlord removed all the stuff from the previous company, and painted the dirty white walls a pleasant cream color.  Shortly after that, Wai, his two daughters, and I got in there with out cleaning spray and rags, and scrubbed away the dirt and dust and stuck-on goop from who-knows how long ago.  Interesting fact which I didn't really learn about until I started cleaning;  Most Chinese people in Chengdu don't seem to think that cleaning their kitches is necesary.  It's the same when you go to visit the Chinese people in their homes.  So the kitchen was the worst part, but now most of it is sparkling clean.  Yay!
 
After finishing the kitchen we started classes.  Because of camp this past summer, a lot more parents were interested in having their kids come to be a part of our small school.  So we now have one more Chinese teacher, and three more fluent English-speaking teachers who joined our staff.  Two of those teachers are Wai's own daughters, Lissy and Alisha.  Lissy was in the States, in college but she decided to come back home for at least a little while, so she's helping out while she's here.  The third teacher is a man named Nicolas, who came from Canada with his wife (who actaully grew up here in Chengdu).  He has a degree in teaching English, so this is a perfect opportunity for him to start off his career in that field.
 
The reason we needed more teachers was because our kids have grown in numbers.  We now have six groups of children, four in each group, ages 5-11.  Approximately 8 more children want to join us, but we want to make sure we are on sturdy ground before we add more groups.
 
What's my role in this?  I've actaully been moved from a teaching position to more of an administrative position.  Since a lot of the new instructors lack teaching experience, we really needed someone to be present in the same classroom to give them advice or help as needed, and also to watch how they teach to be able to adjust the lessons to fit each teacher.  So, since I was familiar with the teaching style and what Wai and Audrey (the lead Chinese teacher who was teaching with me last sememester) wanted in each lesson, Wai asked me if I would be willing to fill the administrative position.  Along with that, I've been the chief organizer in all the supplies and books that we have, figuring out how best to organize them in the space we have.  I was doing this before, but now that's more my official job.  I also help locate the resources each teacher needs for their lesson.  Audrey is the brains behind the lessons, though.  She lays out what they're supposed to do with the kids.  So together, we don't feel overwhelmed with everything we need to prepare for each Tuesday and Friday.
 
If you have any questions on this or anything else that might pop into your mind, feel free to email me!!  My email is brbBecca18@yahoo.com.  I'll be home in January, also so if you want to ask me questions during that time, I'll be avaialbe.  :)
 
Sincerely,
Rebecca Wallace