Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 2 - Fushun School

I woke up at 3.25am, covered in sweat. I couldn't sleep after that. I lay in bed, tossing & turning. From the window, the sun was rising. By 4am, it was bright as day! I could see people exercising along the river & in the park next to our hotel.

I got up to take a bath. Ms Poh was also up.

We went down for breakfast at 6.50am. It was buffet. There were porridge, hot steaming soy bean drink, bread, fried noodles, pickled vegetables, buns...... The milk & orange juice were served warm.

The kids looked sleepy & exhausted. I was told there were several parties in the girls' rooms last night. One girl even proudly proclaimed to Ms Poh that she slept past 3am.

As the Chinese school was just nearby, we arrived in 3 minutes by a chartered bus.

The Principal, vice principals & some teachers were there to welcome us. We were taken to a classroom specially set up for our use. We were taken on a short tour through the school building.
We were later taken to the multi-purpose hall for a briefing & a video show. Teacher Mr Zhang Wei was in charge.
This was the most embarrassing moment of my life. As Mr Zhang Wei was speaking to the students, many were yawning, many looked bored, some of them slept, their heads rocking left & right. A few even put their heads on the table & sleep. All these were seen by Mr Zhang but he kept his calm & continued. I turned back & signalled to the teachers for them to do something. Ms Poh & Mr Yao tried to wake them up.

As the video was being shown, the students boldly put their heads on the table & sleep. I was appalled. Mr Zhang, sensing that the students were uninterested, terminated the video on the pretext that the students needed to go to the loo.

There was a 10 minute interval & the students just slept. Excuses were made that they couldn't sleep because of the change of environment & the long journey. blah blah blah..... ha ha ha..... great excuses.

I voiced my displeasure to the teachers. I know it is useless, I had anticipated this to happen yesterday. The teachers did their best. Their hands were tied. I was told, there were complaints from parents to Mdm Koh this morning. I might be the cause of one of the complaints but I don't care.

A girl exaggerated about the trip from Beijing to Fushun. It didn't take 3 hours & it wasn't a bumpy ride. It is normal for a plane to have a slight bump when it lands. Even if it was a bumpy ride, what can you do by complaining. You want your daughter to go back home? Now?

There was a mini welcome ceremony for us. The teachers & students were invited to the stage & introduced to the school. I was overwhelmed by their warm welcome & hospitality.

As the Chinese students prepared for assembly, they queued up in a real quick time & when the teacher spoke, they fell silent. More than 1600 students & not a sound did they make when the teacher spoke. I observed this over the 2 weeks I was here. Even in the class, any time a teacher speaks, the Chinese students stopped talking. Amazing.

In Singapore, when a teacher is talking, the students would compete with him/her to see who gets heard. Just like for Mr Yao, Ms Poh or Mr Sum, they have to shout many times to get the students' attention & yet only get 60% attention. They have to get mad before they get full attention. And then the continuous interruptions & jesting get in & it takes quite a while for the instructions to get through.

When our students returned from assembly, they were separated & sent to 6 different classes. Ms Poh, Mr Sum & I stood outside the corridor & observed the teaching of the Chinese teachers.
Each class has more than 50 students. The tables & chairs were crammed so close to each other. The Chinese students sat up straight & never for a moment did they slouch. They were attentive & raised their hands to answer questions. I'm impressed.

We had lunch at their school canteen. We had sweet & sour pork (yummy! the standard of a good restaurant leh!), a soup, & 4 vegetables (one stir-fried with beef) dishes.

I was told the school employs a cook, who has 20 yrs of cooking experience, to prepare meals for the kids & teachers. Teachers who have to come early to school can have breakfast there. Their lunch are catered for. For teachers who have to stay for night classes, they have dinner in school as well.
After lunch, we had the dance lesson with Dance Teacher Ms Xu. The kids were again unco-operative, reluctant to move to the teachers instructions, exasperating the refined & elegant lady to the extent of giving up.
The teacher commented that the students were not passionate about the dance, so they didn't put their heart & soul into it. She said it was the worst of the classes she had ever taught.

The students took their own sweet time to change into their dance attire. They were very negative & wanted the teacher to change the dance.

The students then had their measurements taken by two tailors. They didn't managed to take all the students' measurements because the bus came to bring us back to the hotel at 4.30pm.

I had my bath & a rest before going down for dinner at 6pm. We have dumplings (jiaozi) for dinner, and boy, were they good! Mr Yao was the happiest. There were

Braised Fish with Tung Hoon
Pork Slices with Leeks
Chicken with Onion
Tomato Omelette
Deep Fried Brinjal
Mixed Fruits in Fruit Punch

After dinner, Mr Yao arranged for the kids' uniform to be picked up by the laundry. Each piece of garment costs 2.50 rmb (S$0.50). It would be good training & a great experience for the kids to learn to wash their dirty garments but most opt to send them to the laundry. Since it doesn't cost much, I sent Jaymes' & my clothes to the laundry too.

Then the kids were divided into groups to do a report on their first day of school in Fushun.

I retired to my room before 8pm. Ms Poh didn't come back to the room until after 10pm. She had to make sure the kids were in their rooms by 10pm. Mr Sum & Mr Yao would have to conduct spot checks on them every now & then to make sure they sleep early. She was still doing work when I told her to take a bath earlier in case she fell sick. I fell asleep soon after. I didn't know what time she slept.......

1 comment:

  1. Relax my dear, your mission is to look after Jaymes.
    You may look older, when I pick you up from airport.
    Love Always