Friday, January 15, 2010

Lamb Kebabs.

After two weeks at Shuan Wen ("bilingual", in Chinese) public school, I can honestly say that I do not think I am cut out for teaching elementary school. For those of you who don't know. I have been participating in a teaching fellowship, the Urban Education Fellowship, for students interested in pursuing careers as educators. While I may not have planned on being a teacher, I applied and surprisingly out of 160 Smith applicants, was one of the 30 chosen to be a part of this intense inner-city immersion. I was placed in a Pre-K to 8th grade Chinese immersion school in the Lower East side, and have been so blessed to be assisting in a 3rd grade classroom, with a three-degree of separation with the teacher! What a small world.

These third graders are so talented and it has been such an honor helping them with their academic challenges. I took it upon myself this week to learn about each students family background and history, whether asking the teacher or the students themselves. I was forewarned that this experience would be "life-changing", and I must admit, what these children have endured in their 9 years of existence have been mind-boggling. I cry inside when I hear about their families and parents, or lack-thereof. Parents who are illiterate in both English and Chinese and unable to understand their child's assignments. This experience has been so eye-opening and has helped me realize how blessed I am to have a healthy family, with parents who are always there to support me.

So much has happened in the classroom. My third graders have been writing persuasive essays about any subject, working on fractions and decimals, practicing cursive, reading biographies on Sacagawea, Pocahantas, MLK, Rosa Parks, JFK and other historical leaders. On top of all of this, these amazing students have 2 hours of Chinese EVERY day. They are in school from 8am to 5:30pm. I understand their impatience and rowdiness, but overall these kids are just darling!

I have so much more to say about them, but I am already so overwhelmed with their daily interactions and the amount of blogging I have to do for the program, that I will leave it to some other time (if that ever happens).

Just yesterday, I received notice from Teach for America that I have been invited to skip the entire first half of the interview process and go straight to the final interview. As much as I cherish this opportunity, since only 8% of the 10,000 applicants become Corps members, I know that if I want to be an educator in my future, I can always follow that dream. As for the Expo in Shanghai, that will only come once in my this age at least. Each time, I hate withdrawing my application, for the Peace Corps, and for this. I guess I can just feel "special" that I have gotten so close in both programs, and it was at my discretion to close the door.

Outside of the classroom, I have been enjoying my apartment and working out. This past Wednesday, I went to a 20's networking launch party and was able to meet some really awesome young New Yorkers, whether they're new to the city like myself or born and raised in this jungle. I guess the tweeners too, been here a couple years. Made some tentative plans for this weekend with some of them. Definitely a night out! and also a visit to the MOMA for Tim Burton's exhibit. I got 2 free passes today from the 3rd grade teacher, good for up to 10 people! Family time!

Made a trip to Flushing last Sunday. Finally! A place with more authentic Chinese food!
I also found 羊肉串 and 麻辣汤 AND 油条! (lamb kebabs and sichuan style soup AND fried dough)


Wow. I don't even know what I'm writing about now. It's time to zone out in front of the TV. I'll try and update more often.


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