Student Leaders: SPRINT
Summer 2010 SPRINT Teams: China
Trip Dates: July 1 - August 8, 2010
Project Description: Team members will serve as English teachers and summer camp counselors for Chinese middle and high school students. Program includes English‐teaching curriculum as well as sports, field trips, skits and presentations.
Host: English Language Institute China
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Hello, friends of the China SPRINT team!
After many adventures in Hong Kong and China, the team will return to the States this Monday, August 8. As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you'll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.
For those of you meeting students at the airport, they’ll arrive at SeaTac Airport on Monday, August 8 at 7:45 PM on Alaska Airlines flight 313. They may send another update before their return, but I wanted to make sure you had arrival information on-hand.
As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:
• Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,
• Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,
• Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,
• And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.
It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing retreat in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.
I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep and collect his or her thoughts, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.
I’ve e-mailed team members a list of debriefing questions designed to help students think through their experience and its meaning as they move forward in their lives. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these questions with your student.
Thanks for your support of students on this team! Please let me know if you have questions.
It's Sunday night over here and we all have just stepped out of our team meeting for the evening. This week's cultural activities (which are the afternoons at school where all the classes we teach come together and do activities as a big group) include Easter and a traditional American wedding. During the first week of school our team introduced the "Sampson Family" to the students and this family plays out different American activities to give an example for the kids. Karl and Sammi are the ma and pa of the Sampson Family, while Kevin and I are the brother and sister. James is my fiancé. We all have acted out different holidays and special occasions throughout the last two weeks with different plays and even some songs... it's been quite entertaining. So for Monday and Tuesday afternoon, we will be acting out a typical Easter celebration and wedding. Kevin just informed us that we will be having an elaborate skit on Tuesday for the wedding day. It will include our first date, James asking my "Dad" for my hand in marriage and the proposal. Then we will have the wedding ceremony, which will include some of the students as bridesmaids and groomsmen! We have been told that students love this day and have a lot of fun with it, so I'm pretty excited, even if I have to marry James ;)
We really have been busy with lesson planning and teaching debate classes on Saturdays that we haven't had much down time to explore Hong Kong. We did however get to spend most of Saturday with some of our students! They met us at the MTR (which is their subway). We took that plus a bus to get to Clearwater beach. The boys spent most of the time swimming and goofing around with the kids while us girls chatted and people watched. It was a beautiful view and nice break from the busy streets of the city. We also had dinner with them at a local food court. It was fun to just hang out with the kids and not have to worry about lessons or making sure people were behaving.
Tomorrow starts our last week as English teachers. I cannot believe the past three weeks have gone by as quickly has they have! Though it hasn't always been easy, I have enjoyed getting to know my 20 students and will be missing them once closing ceremonies end on Friday. ELIC is holding a youth rally on Saturday July 31st and we teachers are encouraged to ask our students to join us. This rally will have songs and a sermon in their language and this is a time where teachers from every team will be able available to share their stories and testimonies with students who are willing to listen. I have introduced my faith in my class and I am pretty sure most of my teammates have as well. We are hoping to see some students at the rally and would love it if you guys back home could continue to pray for the opening of doors and hearts with our kids. Also, please pray for the language barrier between us teachers and our students. Some of our classes are lower level students who barely know a few phrases in English, so pray that we can at least continue to be examples of God's love to them as we begin our last week!
I attached a photo of us teachers and some of our students! this was taken after our beach day and dinner
I write this as I wash my laundry after our first week of teaching.
To start things off, the trip to get here was extremely long...and started way too early (4:00 in the morning). I watched 4 movies and ate 2 meals on the plane ride (as well as one meal in San Francisco). Then we had to carry our bags up a hill in 90 degree, very humid weather. It was rough. In all, we traveled for about 28 hours (I think) and used up 2 entire days (since there is a 15 hour time difference).
Then we spent the next four days training on a random island that is technically part of Hong Kong though it is very rural. Basically they packed everything I learned in my 3 education classes winter quarter into four days of training. And we had to learn the curriculum at the same time. The island is extremely beautiful though and has an excellent view. It was extremely hot though as well. I don't know that I've sweated that much since football in high school. And we definitely had to drink a lot of water...
Our team has been a kind of source of wonder for the other teams because (with the exception of our team leader) we’re all from the same school and have known each other for several months. So while everyone was doing team-building kinds of things, we just had to get to know our team leader. Her name is Becky and she is from Kentucky. She's got a nice southern drawl and is a 3rd grade teacher back in the states.
After training was over, about 70 of us took a ferry to mainland Hong Kong, while the other 75 or so went to different parts of China and Vietnam. That was about a week ago. Then on Monday, we did an assessment of the students to see their level of English skills and grouped them into different classes of similar skill levels. I have the middle level students (who do fairly well, but need to have things explained much simpler sometimes). There are two classes below me whose students can barely speak a word sometimes. Very glad I wasn’t stuck with that challenge… There are also two classes above me with better English skills. There are a few students in the top class who use words bigger than I do sometimes...
So anyway, Tuesday we started teaching. We teach for 3 hours in the mornings with two fifteen minute breaks and then we have an hour and a half for lunch. Then we do some sort of afternoon activity to introduce them to our culture. Yesterday I taught all of the students “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”… I THINK they enjoyed it… Its going pretty well and its really rewarding for me. We just don’t have too much free time…
I think most of us are doing pretty well with not being homesick… The lesson yesterday talked about homesickness though and I have to admit, it did make me miss home. Hong Kong is a pretty amazing city though and it keeps us busy in the little bit of free time we have…My roommate Kevin and I are currently on a quest to find the best mango juice-boxes in Hong Kong. This basically means just whenever we go shopping, we keep our eyes open for new brands. The little things, right?
My biggest complaint is the beds. I think mines only a little softer than the carpeted floor back home. And my pillow isn’t much better. So even though I’ve gotten at least eight hours of sleep each night, I still wake up exhausted. The other night I got 10 and still felt awful the next day. And the heat doesn’t help with the exhaustion factor. Luckily our bedrooms and classrooms have air-conditioners. Yesterday we had our first typhoon warning and it rained pretty hard, but it was only a class 1 typhoon (supposedly they get as high as 10 or 12 sometimes…) so it wasn’t too bad. Just about half an hour to an hour of side-ways gusts of rain.
Anyway, the students are great (14 of them just added me on facebook) and we’re having fun. And yes, I still want to be a teacher. Even moreso now I think, though I think I’ll stick to math…
As we get to know our students and share about ourselves, please pray that they will be curious and open to the gospel. Prayers for good rest and a continuing good team dynamic would also be appreciated! I'm very thankful for how well things have gone and the protection that I've enjoyed. I'm having a great time!
Hope all is well state-side!
btw, for all who are interested, James has been keeping up a blog. None of the rest of us have written on it, but I think he's been doing a pretty good job of portraying what has been happening. I think he's put up a few pictures as well. Here's the url: http://sprinttochina.wordpress.com/
We spent a week on the Cheung Chau Island in training. We had sessions all day long, from 8:15 am to 9:00pm, with only a few breaks in between. It was definitely overwhelming, but informative as well. We learned about cultural relations, team building techniques and personality types, received the curriculum and had to microteach to feel comfortable with it, and much, much more. The island was beautiful - tiny, but lots of ocean views and a cute downtown where we got iced mangoes almost every day.
Thursday, we took the ferry to Hong Kong, which is where we are now. This is our third day at the Baptist University, and we love it so far. The weather is HOT HOT HOT, so we spend a lot of time indoors either preparing our lesson plans, cultural activities, or in other training sessions. At night, we go into downtown Kowloon for local food...which is just super yummy.
We start teaching on Monday, which is both exciting and nerve racking. We all feel pretty confident in our teaching abilities though, so that's a big plus! Yesterday, we met with the school officials and got a tour of the elementary school (ning po), and love it there! Everything is so colorful and the faculty is so friendly!
In a couple minutes, we are leaving to go on a "cultural outing" to a popular park and a temple as well. We are hoping we won't sweat too much, although I'm sure we will...unfortunately!
Training has been going well here on Cheung Chau Island, but we've been doing a lot of sitting and listening. Everyone's doing well and seem to be handling the heat well too.
On Thursday we leave for our school, then we'll spend Friday setting up our classrooms and students come on Monday (at least I think so). There has continued to be some uncertainty about what we're doing when, but we are getting better about going with the flow.
Just a quick note to let you know the team has arrived in Hong Kong. They called from the airport just a couple minutes ago. Their flight went smoothly, and they're happy to be at their destination.
The team will spend the month of July teaching English in Hong Kong with the English Language Institute - China. Their last week (the first week of August) will include a trip to mainland China for more English camps.
Early this morning, the five-member SPRINT team left SeaTac Airport, enroute to Hong Kong. They'll spend the next four weeks teaching English with English Language Institute: China's program in Hong Kong. Their final week will involve more English teaching in mainland China.
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