This past Saturday (Kevin's birthday no less!) marked the beginning of our English school's fall semester, so I'm back to being Becky Lao Shi (or Betty Lao Shi...or Belly Lao Shi...or whatever other interesting variations of my name seem suitable at the moment). We've got between 70-80 kids this semester, many of whom are repeat students. Since not a lot of exciting things happened on the first day of school, I figured I'd give some highlights of last semester (seeing that I was on blog hiatus then) to give you a better idea of the kids we get to work with.
My classes consist of the pre-school kiddos, roughly ages 3-6. During class, we work on colors, counting, basic actions, and the ABCs. Fascinating piece of random information: the ABC song is different here. You know how the song we grew up on crams L-M-N-O-P all together? As if "el-em-in-oh-pee" was just one letter instead of five. The Chinese version of the song splits L-M-N and O-P into separate stanzas. Brilliant, I tell ya!
Here they are rockin' out their version of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." It is so incredibly cute when they calls their knees their "kneefs." I guess I'm a bad teacher for not correcting them, but it makes me laugh too much.
This picture is from our graduation program last May. I say it just about sums about how orderly my class is--not even one kid is paying attention to what's going on. Let's just compare with Kevin's older, more well-behaved students:
Now tell me who you think deserves their pay check--me or Kevin?
And you never know what will come to class with these kiddos, including slimy pet turtles. So with the frequent cries of "He shui!" (I'm thirsty!) and "Niao niao!" (I have to pee pee!) that interrupt my teaching, it's a wonder these kids even remember their English names...oh wait...most of them don't! I've got one kid who had an identity crisis between the name Justin and Jason for an entire semester.
Speaking of English names, here's a classic example. Meet this xiao peng you, who cycled through at least 5 names last semester. On the first day of class, he was called Ken. He wouldn't talk to me and grimaced sourly at me every time I called him Ken. Thinking maybe he didn't like his name, the next week in class, I asked him what he would like to be called.
"Lao hu," he said. So I called him Tiger.
The next week, when I called him Tiger, he got grumpy again. Thinking maybe he didn't like this name anymore either, I again asked him what he would like to be called.
"Shi zi," he said. So I called him Tiger-Lion.
The next week, when I called him Tiger OR Lion OR even Tiger-Lion, he wasn't satisfied. For the third time, I asked him what he would like to be called.
"Ying," he said. So he was officially dubbed Tiger-Lion-Eagle. It's even on his little diploma and on our class roster.
Our school marketing slogan is "English is fun!" But maybe what we should say in order to recruit my little students is "English is fun, even if you have no clue what's going on because all the crazy foreigners are singing The Village People's YMCA." That's what this little guy is thinking.