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And just like that, we’ve wrapped up week 2 of the Zhuhai program! I honestly can’t believe that we’ve been learning and laughing with the Zhuhai and Nanping students for two whole weeks now. Amid a pandemic and across 8,000 miles, we’ve truly been able to enrich each other’s lives. This past week has also proved to me that everything will only run smoother as we all get more accustomed to this online model of teaching.

There are three things that made this week stand out. First of all, students have been logging on and getting situated so much faster than before! It seems like major technology logistics were sorted out during the first week, and now they’ve developed a really good system. The transition period between classes has been super efficient for both Zhuhai and Nanping schools, which means we’ve been able to start class on time and enjoy more class time! I think they’re also getting the hang of zoom in general – such as knowing when and how to turn on their microphone and video, and taking advantage of the chat.

Secondly, these students are seriously goofy. Amid all the academic stress that these middle school students in China must face, I’m so grateful that they are still having fun and joking around with each other (and us). During one of the Zhuhai classes that I teach with Alan, there is a student who always cracks all of us up with his catchphrase “I LIKE CHICKEN.” Whenever he is given the opportunity to speak, he will always find a way to say (or scream) this phrase, making all his classmates laugh in the process.

Third of all, I really enjoyed this past week’s lesson plan on food and restaurants. Our lesson plan included a cute video of a chef, example dialogues, and role-play ordering at a restaurant. You would expect that after teaching the same lesson for the 14th time, one would be absolutely sick of it. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that I wasn’t! Although each classroom atmosphere was different, they all actively engaged in the lesson and made it so interactive and unique each time.

Additionally, as the days passed, I also became more confident and more knowledgeable about how to most effectively teach the lesson. For example, at the start of the week, I would often ask students to “repeat this sentence” or “say this phrase with me.” Most of the time, there would be hesitation and or blank faces. Throughout the week though, I realized that asking “can everybody read this together?” elicits a positive response every time. This pushed me to be more intentional about the language that I use with my students – sometimes, it can make all the difference to the students.

This upcoming week we’re going to be talking about after-school activities and I’m so excited to try out some new teaching techniques that I’ve discovered and also learned from my teammates! I was able to try out my week 3 lesson plan with my baobaoban yesterday, and they seemed to really enjoy the activity where they could draw out their extracurriculars while listening to some background music (Taylor Swift, of course). They drew cute pictures of basketball, video games, and even a bunny. I can’t wait for week 3!