Week 5 – Nov. 19 to 26, 2016

Nov. 30, 2016
Rudi Kiefer

Nothing extraordinary going on. The students have caught on to taking notes, as there is a quiz at each week’s conclusion, in every class. Sadly, each class also has a cadre of three students in the rear who will not stop messing with their phones during the sessions. Even when I call up some of them by name and mention that they seem to be buried in their social media play pens, it takes only five minutes and their thumbs are going again on those little mobile devices. Another teacher has left something interesting in the education classroom: a large cloth apron with 30 numbered pockets. Skylark, the class monitor,explains that she makes the students drop their phones into the pockets at the start of the class session, to be retrieved when the finish bell rings. I’m reluctant to take such an authoritarian measure. Maybe I will, later on.

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016: The promised snow appeared and went away again. It’s 1 C outside, and the weather has already reverted to the familiar steady rain. Buying waterproof shoes and a full-length raincoat before coming back to Anhui was one of my best ideas.

Tomorrow, is “Foundations of Success” on the new campus again. It’s too bad that the classroom computer doesn’t have a live internet connection, so I need to introduce Canvas via screenshots and arm waving.

Wednesday evening: Geez, was I ever wrong! The morning snow was just a pilot event. Late Wednesday afternoon the real stuff came down.

At ANHU, there’s no such thing as the Georgia tradition of closing early during snowstorms. So class ends at 5 p.m., then dinner in the cafeteria with a couple of students.

Just like home! A little snow and immediately there are car crashes. Here’s the first fender bender of the evening. In weather like this, it’s nice to see the last 50 yards of the one-mile walk home, and the warm apartment building.

In class the assignment was a role play where two “immigration officials” conduct a visa interview with students. The purpose is to get them to speak English, but also prepare them for the questions they might be asked: “Why do you want to study in Georgia?” “How are you going to pay for it?” “What will you do after graduation?” If I had a nickel for every time I was asked those questions myself, 36 years ago, I’d have a dime.

Woman holds pen over paper in classroom.

Here’s Tang Xuan (Rennie,) working intensely on a quiz.

At school, it’s not all fun and games, comedy videos and mini-snowmen. I have to submit grades before I leave in December.

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