The only classes I am assigned during the summer break are those given to the girls who flunked their English. My head aches when it occurs to me that I have to repeat what I said during the past semester one more time. I figure it will be much more pleasant to read the summer reading novel--Secret of the Andes. Personally I find it an excellent book, but since I know my students well, I can predict that only a handful of kids have started to read it.
The girls might be too innocent to know that it's not my thing to explain the story sentence by sentence. My belief is that it's impossible to learn a language well without doing any reading. I trust them though they are not good at English. I put them into groups to do the reading together.
My students might not be the smartest, but they are willing to be trained. Each group comes with their summary of the chapter assigned after six hours of hard work.
And what I am most looking forward to is the part where the girls have to pick their favorite quotes and illustrate them. I take out the notes they have made over the past few days and yell like a madwoman: Let's erase all the detestable English words with acrylics! In fact, I have had a neck cramp, but I can't help jumping and shouting in excitement. I feel like a kindergarten teacher; the only difference is that my students don't have the passion of children. Throughout the process, they act as if they were my quiet puppets.
After the summer camp for children in July, I have had a hard time trying to figure out something: How come our instincts to draw disappear with time passing? The five-year-olds, who can draw freely and wildly, turn out to be teenagers who are into nothing but staring at their cell phones in ten years. Because of this, I'd like to apply to the same teaching plan to the teenagers. The novel is so full of images. I believe that we all have imagination, and thus we can envision the pictures in our heads.
While we are discussing the novel, I try to give the girls an image of the Andes by asking if they have been to the Taroko Gorge. Surprisingly, only 5 out of 22 have been there. Well, maybe I can't say the parents have to be all responsible for this, so I give a very sincere piece of advice: You are about to be 18. I think you can go on your own soon, and you shouldn't miss such beautiful natural assets!
This is the easiest quote to illustrate. It interests me that we feel unsafe about what we don't know as we age.
The llamas play an important role in the book. Llama-humming is described as wind-and-water music, like wind rippling over the water.
I am about to start my 12th year as a teacher, but in many ways it feels I've just begun. The outer environment is getting less and less ideal, but amidst all the chaos, I think I can always stand my own ground. It was discouraging to think that I always have a bigger dose of enthusiasm than my students, but after this summer, I have gained a new perspective. I so firmly believe that I can make a difference, no matter how small it is.