La Salle Study Centre Changjiao
March 2004 Newsletter
Smooth sailing at last …
Time is the only fairly shared item for everyone … still alive that is! Irrespective of whether one is old or young, sick or healthy, rich or poor, the seconds tick on … 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, no more and no less! So, much as I would like to say that time flies by swiftly for me, I figure it is because I move with the seconds. It will not be the same if I were to stand still, watching and waiting for the seconds to pass by. Though some days I feel I am short-changed, in fact it is just a pigment of my imagination. The seconds tick on …. for you and for me …. fairly and equally. No one has more nor is anyone given less.
This year, my sojourn in Changjiao began earlier than usual because Chinese New Year fell on January 22nd. Sensing that there would be a drastic drop in demand for train and bus ticket on the 4th day of CNY, I left Hongkong for Shenzheng on Sunday 25th. I spend three nights in Shenzheng with my niece and friends and arrived back in Changjiao at 6 a.m. on 28th January.
I have my work cut out for me this time round. The new headmaster is very cooperative. He realized the importance of English for his students. He made sure that Primary 2, 3 and 4 students have regular English classes for me to teach. Unlike the previous headmaster who gave me the last and most difficult period to teach, he so arranged the timetable that I can teach my classes during the 3rd and 4th period. Knowing that I use a laptop computer, he also assigned to me the music room where there is a large TV that I can connect to my laptop. I am very happy with the arrangement. I also teach twice a week at another primary school in Upper Jicun which is about 2 km away. There the students are in Primary 3 & 4. So now, for regular school hours classes, I teach 25 students in Changjiao and 26 students in Upper Jicun.
With almost two years experience under my belt teaching English in this part of China, I have evolved a reading method that is a combination of the English alpha-phonic sounds and the Chinese pinyin sounds. It is amazing how fast the students learn to read. Ah well, what I mean is that they can pronounce words and read sentences but really do not understand much of what they are reading. I am now working hard at devising a method to help them improve their vocabulary. For this project, I enlisted the help of eight Primary 5 students. They come to my house every morning from Monday to Friday at 6.30 a.m. for a half an hour lesson on vocabulary building. They decide what words they need to know and together we build a vocabulary database that I will use for this coming Summer English Programme. Wish me luck!
I have a very busy schedule on Saturdays and Sundays. Morning lessons begin at 6.45 a.m. and ends at 11.30 a.m. I then go to Dabu-Huliao for my lunch (proper home-cooked family lunch – from Monday to Friday I eat lunch with the teachers in school) followed by a 90 minutes lesson. Then it is back to Changjiao for the afternoon lessons from 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. On Saturday nights I have lessons with 6 upper secondary students from 7.30 p.m. about 10 p.m. This is my favourite class. Most of it is conducted in English and though the students have to struggle, they try their best to speak English with me. We are having our first debate this weekend!
How time flies! I have written more than I intended to. It suffices to say for the present that all systems go as far as the Study Centre is concerned. I have placed orders for 10 computers. Most of the furniture for the Centre is in. I am on schedule for a soft opening in the middle of April. I hope Br. Patrick Tierney, will find time to come some time in June to visit me for an official opening.
Keep me in your prayers. As always with love in DLS,
David Liao FSC
Changjiao 18th March 2004
All good things must
come to an end...