This semester I’m teaching a class on Speech and Debate, and although it involves a heavy workload I’d say its my favorite class I’ve taught so far here in China. I’m working with the same group of students I’ve taught for the entirety of my time here, which has its pros and its cons.
Pros being that these students are like my little brothers and sisters, we get each other, we vibe well together, and we feel comfortable making mistakes, jumping right back up when we fall.
Cons being they know exactly how to piss me off and do it from time to time, and they sometimes half ass thing until I remind them that I know that they can do better.
However, be it the pros or the cons, these students are my friends. They’re part of my family here in China and we’ve gotten to a point of comfortability that I never thought was possible in a student teacher environment. Basically our relationships rock and keep me sane, even on the craziest days here in China. This friendship that we’ve created makes for a fantastic, minus the minor cons listed above, classroom rapport. The students aren’t afraid to ask questions any more and do so, often. They aren’t afraid to speak their minds and constantly open up, sharing their opinions about different topics. And the biggest change from last year, is that they’re no longer afraid to get up in front of the class and give a speech/presentation/you name it.
Specifically I want to tell you about a moment from last weeks class. Every other week I introduce a type of speech to the students, and the week following a selected group of students give a 5 minute speech on whatever topic was chosen. The past 2 weeks we discussed how to give informative speeches and the topic I selected for the students was to tell us about an influential person in their lives.
One of my students, someone who I wrongly gauged in last years beginning semester as not being a person to open up or become more confident, stood in front of the class and gave a beautiful speech. Seen below:
"When it comes to influential person in my life, I must say it is my mother who gives me the most love in the world. What she has said and done for me has influenced me a lot and I will remembe forever.
My mother is a kind and gentle woman, she never beat or scold me, instead she would have a comfortable talk with me to tell me what I did wrong and how to avoid it next time, that is real educational to me. I still remember one thing that happened when I was in grade four. Math was my favorite subject and I always got good grades that more than 90 socres, but that time I only got 82. I was very sad and upset and came back home with no word, even bursted into tears. On the one hand, I feel very guilty that I fail the test, on the other hand, I was afraid of my parents scold even beating me. However, my mom didn’t do that. She touched my head with a sweet smile and said, “it’s just a little test, don’t be sad. I believe you can do better next time my son.” I was so encouraged and embraced her tightly.
Although my mom inspaires me to study hard, she never allows me to study all the time. She often asks me to play with my friends, or takes me out to play by herself.
My mother is the one I love most as well, thank for everything she does for me. Love you mom.”
This speech moved me so much, because of how honest this student was. It is said in China that people rarely express their love for each other through words, only through action. I have had students tell me they’ve never said they’re thankful for something out loud, or that they have never told their parents that they love them and vice versa. For this student to express himself so clearly, so exquisitely, so honestly, and out loud, took a lot of courage and I’m so proud.
Man, I’m gunna miss these kids a year from now.