Classroom to Community:zepto

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 日记大全 点击:

  EARLY START? Concern for the environment and a sense of responsibility should be taught young
  As two Chinese doctors proceeded to chip and carve the bone on the back of my wrist, I could feel pain growing. Finally the operation was over and I had survived, but I would not be playing tennis for a while. Before this operation, and my first year teaching in China, I had been told, “Chinese people do not play golf or tennis!” I found this and other things to be completely untrue, but I was paying the price for having played sports almost everyday for more than 30 years. My teaching career in the United States had been for the same length of time, and although it had been filled with a wide assortment of memories, I would soon find a new meaning to the words “work” and “teaching.” In China, I would be faced with challenges and opportunities out in various communities, as well as inside the classroom in Changsha, Hunan Province. Happily, armed with my priorities, I survived the pains of culture clash.
  The fact that I do not speak Chinese places me at a disadvantage. In lieu of this, however, I have found Chinese I have met to be representative of four classes: curious, courteous and helpful, overtly fearful, or blatantly rude.
  The curious project prolonged stares, might say “hello” with a bit of embarrassment and retreat or approach you directly to engage in a simple conversational exchange. On more than one occasion adults have approached me to chat, asking “Where’re you from?” “Do you like China?” “Can you eat with chopsticks?”
  The courteous may even offer you a seat on a crowded bus. In fact one young man went out of his way to help me find a music store by getting the address and taking the taxi with me to the location. Other business establishments have given me a comfortable seat and a cup of tea, while searching for a coworker who could converse with me in English or locate a product.
  The overtly fearful will clearly communicate that you are “strange” to them. On countless occasions people have physically withdrawn from me, abruptly and loudly held their breath while giving me a look of alarm, or have visibly clutched bags or purses closer to their bodies as they quickly changed travel direction while staring at me with a look of fear. In China, I have had store owners refuse to assist me, and hotel clerks give me a rate card saying “meiyou! meiyou!” (meaning “I don’t have any.”) while wildly gesturing for me to leave quickly. No smile. Stern looks on frowning faces. Perhaps a few were afraid because they cannot speak English.
  This is a great contrast to the consistently warm, friendly, welcoming behavior I frequently experienced on visits to small villages in the countryside.
  The rude category of social behavior I have witnessed in the community has also surfaced in the classroom. By “rudeness” I mean negative verbalizations from people in the service industry, and physically abusive behaviors to the environment. I have been shocked at hearing and seeing people hack and spit not only on public sidewalks, but also in crowded buses and schoolroom floors. Seeing adults casually toss aluminum beverage cans and food cartons onto busy sidewalks still bothers me. They need to be trained young, I thought.
  Early in my first year of teaching English on campus, I began a campaign against classroom trash before each daily lesson. “I see rubbish!” was my battle cry and I passed a plastic refuse bag to each student to clean the premises before we began. “You are too beautiful to want to sit in rubbish, you deserve better!” Getting my students to believe they are important, and their parents’ faith and investment in them, is my number one priority. Eventually, all of the students would pitch in tidying up the classroom before our bell rang for lessons. On some days our lessons would start before the bell. In my opinion, students, teachers and residents must have a sense of ownership of the environment.
  The second, equally important priority is instilling in my students the willingness to take positive risks, and do their own work assignments. This is not an easy thing, nor is it a strong Chinese character trait. However, with language learning, it is a necessary attitude and value. Perhaps because my students and most Chinese embrace basketball superstar Yao Ming and other popular entertainers, it has been easy to illustrate that performance can be improved through learning from “mistakes.” I enjoy sharing my personal struggles to encourage students to share their own.
  Clearly, many Chinese around me suffer the pains of respiratory ills, and growing pains from rapid cultural changes. In my opinion, regardless of root causes contributing to these problems, unless the national manufacturing companies initiate a campaign program of community responsibility regulating common social and environmental etiquette, China will be a long way from being a close family of caregivers that has long been its tradition. Facing these challenges may be a painful, delicate operation, but as they say: “No pain, no gain!” I, for one, want to survive along with the rest of my fellow countrymen.


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