What I love: These students.
I’m routinely overwhelmed with gratitude for my life right now, both as a whole and in so many discrete aspects. This is my life right now? I think, all the time. So here's the first post, in hopefully a short series to come.
This evening I’m feeling that way -- overwhelmed with love -- about my students. This year has been a very solid one in terms of my classes. I’ve had a few classes that are less of an absolute joy to teach, but (thus far) no serious classroom management/behavioral issues. (Which is to say, nothing that compares with a student my first year standing up to answer a question and deliberately kicking the student next to her as hard as she could… or the student who would just turn his desk around and sit in the corner because he didn’t want to participate…) I’ve had classes that, week after week, are a delight to walk into. (They’re typically the loud, chaotic, slightly crazy ones — I say, “Good morning!” and they say, “GOOD MORNING!!!!”)
Anyway, here’s the latest in solid reasons why I’m so grateful for them as a whole conglomerate mass. This summer, I’m taking a class about pronunciation. One of the pre-assignments is to record a few students doing a variety of English-speaking tasks. Obviously, I can’t do this on my own, so I posted a message on wechat (like Chinese Facebook) asking for some volunteers.
Within a few minutes, my wechat was flooded with messages from students, both current and past. I had to quickly start turning down offers of help and delete my original request. From a student who I’ve only interacted with at English corner, to one of my current students who’s so shy that she texts me rather than asking me questions in the classroom, to a friend’s student from four years ago at HuaQiao, the offers of help far exceeded my need.
These relationships are one of the beautiful parts of living in China, and one of the reasons I’m so excited to be staying at the same school for a few years is to give them opportunities to continue to grow and develop. On a note of personal growth, I’m thankful for the ways that living in Asia helps (read: forces) me to become better at asking those around me for help and reminds me that self-sufficient independence is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
(Also, shameless plug: if you're interested in and able to financially support the work I'm doing here, here's a link for you: http://www.elic.org/support/hannah-keeler)