So I got ready to go to my class and left Danny at home.Went out the door,my key got stuck in the lock.Danny was locked in,I was locked out.Fortunately one phonecall to the wonderful Bruce,who sent me an SMS “don’t worry my teacher,by the time you return from class it will be fixed” and guess what it was!
And now to the class itself.I arrived at the classroom on time (15 minutes walk from my apartment) ,a leisurely stroll past the lake.In the classroom,chairs and tables,and a blackboard,and a computer to which I have a key,but I decide not to chance it on my first class. I have an attendance book in which the students are to write their names,in Chinese,in Pinyin and also their English names,which they do immediately. One student is the monitor.She will help me with whatever I need. She writes down her phone number and her email.She tells me that if I want photocopying I can email it to her and she will bring it to the next class. In class there are 27 students,Junior year English Majors,all girls except for 5 boys who sit in the back row.The students sit silently and wait.I speak.
I tell them a potted history of my life. They listen.I ask questions,they listen but don’t respond. I figure it out-if you want an answer you have to call on a student by name! Amazing! Then I explain that we will study literature and I explain what literature is and why it is important. I ask for reactions-it is hard to get them to repond even though they clearly understand- they are shy!
Anyhow,second lesson I have a brainwave.I get them to write a sentence about a book they have read. I don’t care if it was in English or Chinese.They write.
After the break (all the lessons are double periods) I ask for a volunteer to tell me about his/her book.Silence. Ok ,I will pick someone.I pick a name .THe kid STANDS and reads what she has written. I comment. This goes on for another 40 minutes,but by the end they are smiling and nodding with my comments.
The lesson ends… I am amazed. They are sweet, they understand but a bit shy.
Many say thank you and goodbye as they file out. There endeth the lesson.