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Classes Begin With 658+ Students…Website For Use With Classes (garydavenport.wikispaces.com/home)

18 Sep

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My first week of classes went well, but since three days are afternoon only, I did not see a single past student going to-and-from the fifth floor…I was not a happy camper. I needed to meet one of them the next week, at 9:40 a.m. and was able to visit with several…am going to have to get out of the apartment when I do not have a class, I guess, instead of ‘saving my strength’ for the long afternoons. 🙂 I am finding 2 pm and 4:05 pm classes are draining on my glucose levels…am very tired at the end of the late afternoon.

I learned some interesting information from student’s summer jobs:

  • One group of five was recruited to work in a factory in another SE province…told they would be provided housing and meals as part of their salary…found out, upon arrival, that only one meal a day was covered and housing would be 15 per room. They worked 12-13 hours each day! With a smile, one student proudly said, “I bought a computer with my money.” Good for you, I told her!
  • Another junior-to-be was hired by our university to recruit new students. Apparently, after a few days, she discovered that she was expected to say things to the prospects that were not true…she decided it was not the right thing to do, and quit. Good for you, I told her!
  • Most found groups of 3-35 students to teach English and/or math during the summer. One volunteered she made over 3,000 yuan, which is a lot of money for a part-time job here.

I had my picture taken for two local newspapers (see photo left) for Teacher’s Day, and received two movie passes to a local show….we gave them to Hugo and Kelly and they saw a movie she’s wanted to see for a few weeks. We also received many texts wishing us a good Teacher’s Day.

I have opened a new website for use with my classes: http://garydavenport.wikispaces.com/home.I put lesson plans and Life Lessons on for all to see, if interested, in addition to a Self-Esteem evaluation…encourage you to take it and see the results for your own ‘self love.’

One student asked me if “you and Terry go to church every Sunday.” I told her we worshipped with a group every Sunday in our apartment. She thoughtfully added, “I think it is very important to pray every day.” Of course, I quickly agreed. We’ve had a past  dean of a law department on the East campus join us for Assembly the past two weeks, and also a Sister from our campus. After having 3-4 move away during the summer, they are (see page two)    very welcome.

We have seven classes each, with some 685+ energetic students, mostly young ladies. All of my students had Terry for two semesters on the West campus, so they are now getting to see ‘the other half’ who fits all the stories she told them about our life and family.

We met a group of students for lunch for the first time this semester (see below right) and we have never seen girls eat so much food at one sitting. They were energetic and happy, the weather was in the mid-70’s outside for the first time this month…and the restaurant area outside our front gate had been cleaned up and remodeled! 🙂 We will continue to treat a group of 8-10 students each week so we can get to know them better.

Our Friday and Saturday evening group discussions are going well. Schedule conflicts cause the numbers to fluctuate between 10-20, but we enjoy this special time immensely. We have picked up two new teachers, who are part of our weekly group, when schedules allow.

Our English Corner sessions on Wednesday evening have been the best since we arrived…the students are in charge of planning a theme and activities, which allows them the opportunity to use their English and interact with us.

Because of free VPN software, I am able to watch SEC football this year, and nothing could be much finer than Saturday morning: boiled egg, Minute Maid orange juice, and a homemade biscuit with strawberry jam for breakfast…and Tennessee/Florida on the computer screen. It’s nice that this game is again relevant.

Greetings from Terry: Sunday, September 2nd Gary accompanied me to the long distance bus station in Jinzhou where I boarded a direct bus to Shiyan to visit Eric’s family (and Deryk’s family, too) I was relieved to see it was a large, clean bus with AC. The trip only took five hours.

Eric and family met me at the bus station and we walked a few blocks to meet Deryk’s family at a restaurant for dinner. It was great to see them all again. The food was delicious and the talk was fast and furious as we tried to catch up and share information at the same time. After dinner we took a bus to their campus. It is a fifteen minute walk from the front gate to their apartment.

The Davenports live on the 5th floor, Pritchards on the 4th. Aiden D. has rigged up a string pulley system between the children’s windows to pass notes. The campus is big, new and beautiful. They each have a spacious three bedroom, 1 ½ bath apartment.

They started teaching their college classes that Monday as well as starting home schooling the four children. It was amazing to see them in action as Wendy taught science and Eric taught the four different levels of math. Tiffany teaches them history and Deryk teaches writing and English. I really commended the children for the way they settle down to class in a serious but relaxed way. They have collected some good curriculum. While there, my job was to explore the campus shops for needed food and household items, cook and generally help out in any way I could to free them up to concentrate on taking in all of the new information and get started in their classes. I loved it. Ed and Pam Mosby came by to see that they were settling in Ok and to sign contracts. They brought them three jars of peanut butter. It was received with much enthusiasm since we had not been able to find it in the stores. Very interesting; they have corn meal in many stores but no peanut butter. We have peanut butter but harder to find corn meal. I must say both adults and children alike are doing great at trying all kinds of new foods.

My last evening there we all walked to the playground. The children played while us five adults sat in the cement stands and had a question/ answer/sharing session. I shared my shopping notes, menu ideas and recipes. We all got some good classroom ideas from each other. Friday at 1:00 p.m. I took the same direct bus back to Jingzhou.

It was sooo good to see Gary again and catch up on my sleep. Even though Brinson let me have his very comfortable room and bed I still don’t sleep well away from Gary. It is good to be back. I arrived at 6:00 PM and we had a student life discussion at 7:00 with nine in attendance. I was really starting to yawn by the time they left but it was really good. We had two more studies on Saturday plus Sunday morning meeting. I love the weekends!

Praise and thanksgiving, my nephew, Robert Stigers has returned safely from another trip to the sand.

After preparing three days of power points for my new semester, I found out they have switched me back to Oral English instead of Pronunciation. At first it threw me but then I realized I could still use most of the slides and I like teaching Oral English.

Our discussion groups are underway. Even when the numbers are fewer because of schedule conflicts the talk is very meaningful.

Stella Ouyang came for Sunday morning meeting for the first time. Afterwards, when she tasted the bread she was curious so I showed her how to make it and explained more about it. She took it home and shared it with her roommates.

One of our students that suffers from clinical depression came by Sunday PM for some encouragement. He had been home for the weekend so the doctor could adjust his medicine. He is so brave to keep going to classes every day. I know it is very hard for him and I carry him in my heart always.

Today I finally got to start my classes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mine started late because the freshmen arrive on campus two weeks after the others and have orientation first. This is my first semester in a multimedia room.

I am reading the book What To Say When You Talk To Yourself by Dr. Shad Helmst… and the examples of Self Talk have been good for me in reference to using the class computer for power point. “I like challenges and enjoy learning new things, even the computer.” That is what I have been telling myself anyway. And today I actually did it successfully with just a little bit of help getting started. — Love, Terry

News from China: Stores across China have seen a rush to buy electronic products in the run-up to the new school year, particularly among college students.

“Our sales soared dramatically in August,” said Mao Shaoqing, spokesman for newegg.com.cn, the China arm of US online electronics retailer Newegg Inc.

Sales of laptops have seen the biggest increase, with prices of bestsellers ranging from 2,500 to 4,000 yuan.

“The best-selling cellphones are under 2,000 yuan, but iPhones have seen decent sales, too,” Mao said.

Duan’s parents also splurged on new clothes, a smartphone, bedding, cosmetics and medication.

Her 49-year-old father, Duan Xudong, said: “It’s first time for her to leave home, so I want to give her all the best I can.”

He said things were very different in the 1980s when he attended college. “I was just happy if I had enough to eat (at college), as I lived on less than 10 yuan a month,” he recalled.

He said he plans to give his daughter 1,500 yuan as a monthly living allowance.

However, such spending has highlighted the wealth gap that exists between college students, and the jealousy it can produce.

Wuhan Evening News recently reported that a freshman at Central China Normal University threatened to drop out unless her parents bought her an iPhone 4S.

Yangtze Evening Post in Jiangsu province also reported that 70 percent of freshmen spent 10,000 to 20,000 yuan on gadgets for school.

Zhang Dawei, a student counselor at Shenyang University, said that the average spending on supplies by new students has risen from a few thousand to at least 10,000 yuan over the past three years. “Some of the costs are not necessary, such as expensive smartphones. Most students buy such products not for study but for entertainment,” he said.

Zhang also said students are receiving large living allowances from their parents.

According to Xinhua News Agency, a survey of 1,700 students found that the average student spent 800 yuan to 1,200 yuan a month last year.

“I was shocked when I read the news about students’ expenses,” said Zhu Jinchang, director of social policy research with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “I worry about this unhealthy social trend.” He said there are multiple reasons behind the trend, including education problems and a bad social atmosphere. “Parents are spoiling their children,” Zhu said.

Zhu also said the public needs to realize that the youth are the nation’s future, and the bad atmosphere should be corrected with efforts from the public and the education system.

BEIJING — Chinese leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping (above, right) reappeared in public Saturday following a two-week absence that had sparked rumors about his health and raised questions about the stability of the country’s succession process.

State media said Xi toured exhibits at China Agricultural University in Beijing commemorating National Science Popularization Day, but offered no explanation as to why he had dropped from sight.

Photos posted to the government’s official website showed Xi walking in the sunshine dressed casually in an open-necked shirt and black windbreaker. Another photo showed him smiling as he looked at potted plants, showing no sign of disability or ill health.

A three-line report from the official Xinhua News Agency did not address why Xi had not been seen publicly since Sept. 1. Since then, he has canceled meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Jingzhou

 

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