We learned that a new intern had arrived at our residence. Like Julian, Eric was a college student who was studying Chinese. Julian and Eric traveled to and from the school on the school bus that transported about twenty children.
I have neglected to mention that since our first presentation, each of the teachers greeted us with a big smile and a warm “Hello!” whenever they saw us. After breakfast (wonton soup and a bun; our snack was three dozen cherry tomatoes) we met with Arla to go over this afternoon’s presentation. Then Arla took us to observe a gym class. The children were practicing swinging a bat at a ball that was part of a T-ball set-up. Then she took us outdoors, where some children were playing with basketballs, others were on the swings and still others were on a climbing structure.
At 1 PM, it was time for the day’s presentation. Nick had made a fold-up book of Earthplace’s five-year-old class learning about soil. We followed that demonstration with more Q & A about teaching. At that point, Headmistress Chen sent for our new intern, Eric, because he was familiar with spoken Chinese. Arla preferred to translate written text, while Eric was able to interpret oral speech. The exchanges between the teachers and me were extremely meaningful because of his knowledge of both languages. The main question the teachers posed, which had many follow-up questions, was: “How do you get disruptive students to cooperate?” Again, please email me if you want to know my answers, or if you have suggested answers.
Headmistress Chen asked us if American preschools were as she imagined, that is, the children have free reign all the time. I answered that Earthplace was not like that, and I hoped she would be able to visit our school and see for herself.
Then Nick had a brilliant idea. He asked Eric and Julian if they wanted to join us for dinner. Headmistress Chen made arrangements for Yaya to drive us to a nearby mall, where we wandered into a barbecue restaurant. This is not a tourist area, so the wait staff did not speak English, nor was the menu in English, but Eric was able to translate. We ordered barbecued lamb skewers, baked eggplant, a green veggie, tofu made with fish spices on skewers, and shoestring potatoes in spices. The waitress said we hadn’t ordered enough; she was right. We then ordered more veggies, more lamb skewers, and more fish skewers. I have never seen any of these items on menus in American Chinese restaurants, and they were all absolutely delicious. Have I mentioned that food is inexpensive in Gu’an? The cost of this dinner for four was $10 per person.