CLASSES: We have completed almost 2 weeks of school now so the students are beginning to establish a routine. Students in my speech class have begun to deliver their first speeches. The second half will deliver their speeches on Thursday. The students are very attentive and prepare well for their presentations. My Monday speech class meets from 10:15am-12:15pm, which is an ideal time during the day. Students are anxious to get to lunch afterwards, but they are generally alert during class. On Thursdays, I teach speech from 3:15-5:15pm, and that is a more challenging time slot.
My education class meets for 3 hours (1:15pm-4:15pm) on Tuesdays. It is an excellent mix of students interested in education, psychology, and social justice. During the first class, the Assistant Program Director William Wu joined us and explained the Chinese education system. This gave us a foundational understanding before visiting our first middle school. My class and I enjoyed a wonderful tour of Changning Middle School. The Head of the School and a few teachers prepared a professional presentation for us and we discussed ways that our students could help in the classrooms. We are excited about this experiential learning experience!
DISCOVERING CHINA: Richard and I have enjoyed getting to know our surroundings and going out on local outings. This past week we visited the largest Starbucks in the world which is here in Shanghai, and then we also checked out a local park filled with a marriage market, tai chi demonstrations, a small amusement park for young children, gambling, a jazz ensemble, and more! Additionally, we have walked around the city and found the "Times Square" of China and countless shopping malls. There is definitely always something to see and do here.
STUDENTS: Richard and I are really enjoying getting to know the students. I continue to spend a lot of time advising them with classes and discussing their passions and dreams. We also enjoyed a day trip with a small group of students to Qibao, where we tried Chinese street food and shopping and appreciated the beauty of the bridges and canals. The students are learning how to manage their time effectively and learning how to book their travel plans. The first travel weekend is this weekend and many of us, including me and Richard, will be traveling because it is the national Chinese holiday. The students are learning that they need to get adequate sleep and eat healthy to keep up with the pace of life abroad. Some are getting colds and their bodies are beginning to wear down -- nothing alarming, just regular colds or flus.