Ni Hao, Jia Kai!
Hopefully this will be an adequate recollection and re-creation of ...
'twas the night before teaching . . .
so i just lost my post that i was nearly finished with. bleh.
i think i'll start with what i was closing with in the post i was working on. my friends have encountered some very amusing english names of their students' choosing, some of which i will share. just the prospect of encountering similarly crazy names is enough to get me excited for teaching this week. here are some of the best: snow cross (female), suck (female), machine (female), recher, god (male), lady gaga, glitter, old cat (male), false teeth, nokia, luckily (female), nevermore (male), monkey (female), and animal (female). oh, chinese students.
basically what i had written before was a little bit about the chinese education system (as a segue from describing who i will be teaching and how my primary school works). during the odd weeks of school, i teach first through fourth grades, and this week, as it is an odd week, i will be teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. as used to be the case in the u.s., chinese primary schools encompass grades one through six, then junior high schools have three levels (junior 1, 2, and 3), and senior high schools have those same three as well. i have been exchanging e-mails with mahone, the son of one of my students in beijing, who just began his year as a junior 3, and he is already fretting about the upcoming exam for entrance into a good senior high school. standardized exams rule in china, with a good score promising entrance into the best public schools, called key schools. this continues into senior high, as the hugely burdensome gau kau national exam dictates into which university a student is admitted. poor scores can quite honestly ruin prospects for one's future, and can mean a student is relegated to studying at a vocational/technical school. i don't pretend to know all of the ins and outs of the chinese educational system, however i do know that my students in beijing mentioned that given the opportunity to change the education system, they would eliminate what they see as excessive testing. while many american students gripe about tests, homework, and long school days, i would like to point out to that senior 3-level chinese students are in school from 8 a.m. until well after 9 or 10 p.m. most of the year, and are subject to tremendous pressure from their families; their respective futures are literally on the line. especially in this respect i would offer this advice to overprivileged, lazy american high schoolers: check yo'selves.
that's it for my extremely abbreviated and somewhat shoddy approximation of chinese education. as for me teaching (how easily i can stray from my original point), i promise an update at the end of the week at the very least, if not multiple posts throughout, tracking names and standout anecdotes. don't let me down, china.