I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Qihe School in the country again. There are 14 classes of around 45 students in each class but I have been in each class a few times now so we are starting to get to know each other.
They aren't so shy anymore and it is amazing how much their spoken english is improving. I can't say the same about my Chinese but the whole class always erupts with cheering when I say things to them in Chinese and they like to try and teach me new words. We are helping each other out.
The children tell me stories about their daily lives which is so interesting. It is a hard life, (not that they think it is) they start school at 8 each morning and finish at 8.30 at night and have every second weekend off.
They are always amazed that I live in Beijing and want to know all about it as most of them haven't visited there.
They are also very interested in life in Australia. I think here I am telling them if they get to go to Australia they must go to Yeppoon as it is the most beautiful place.
They have all heard all about the Sydney Opera House so they also want to know where it is on the map.
I always love it when students introduce themselves and they have the coolest english names. The other day this gorgeous girl introduced herself and told me her English name was Coco and that I had named her.
I haven't got around to giving them all english names yet but it is such an honour.
Then there are the ones that you can tell have been named by themselves or by a non english speaking person. Here I am pictured with a student who seriously says his english name is Superman.
There was this sweetest girl and she said to me, "Hello teacher, my english name is Jason".
I wish I had thought before I spoke but I didn't and I blurted out, "OH NO, your english name is Jason, truly?"
She said, "Yes teacher, truly".
I said, "Would you like a new english name?"
She said, "Yes, I would like to have a really pretty english name."
I said, "How about we call you Jasmin, it is the name of a very pretty flower".
She beamed at me with a grin from ear to ear, hugged me and said, "Thank you teacher, I love it so much."
The children ask me all sorts of questions but the other day this lovely girl stood up, looked at me and said, "Teacher, what is your dream?"
I must say she got the prize for the most thought provoking question of the day.
I paused for a second and said, "My dream is to see all my family and friends healthy and happy, what is your dream?"
She looked at me and said, "My dream is to be a teacher just like you."
That's when I nearly melted on the ground..... to think someone dreams to be like me!
I do tell them I am not a real teacher but I guess I am teaching them something. I know I am teaching them how to speak with an aussie accent, I love it when I hear it in things that they say.