Wednesday, April 11, 2012

...connecting teachers: Xi'an to Lexington...

During the last month, the English teachers at the Gaoxin No. 2 Primary School here in Xi’an have certainly earned my respect.  Their interest in student achievement, their dedication to their work and their cooperative spirit has been outstanding to me.  The English teachers share a common office which allows for ideal proximity for discussing lesson plans, subject material and student progress.  They warmly welcomed me into this office and their classrooms.  As my internship continued, our discussions of Chinese and American teaching methods became more frequent and productive. 

On my last “official” day at the Primary School, Dr. Laurie Henry, the University of Kentucky professor who is supervising the University of Kentucky student teachers here in China, visited with the English teaching staff.  Dr. Henry facilitated a discussion in which the teachers were eager to learn about American standards, examinations and classroom practices.  We look forward to continuing this dialogue! 

...18 year old ceremony...

Our group from University of Kentucky was invited to attend the special ceremony for all the students who have their 18th birthday this year.  The event included multi-media presentations, special recognition of student and parent representatives, and speeches by faculty and administration.  In the photo below, Madame Wang, Principal of Goaxin No. 1 High School, addresses the students, teachers and parents.

Following the two hour ceremony in the auditorium, students and family members gathered in the courtyard to take photographs. The students signed a large banner that was designed for this occasion.

...have wheels, will travel...

We’d heard that renting bicycles is the best way to get around the Xi’an City Wall, (8.5 miles) and that proved to be good advice. The early hour, the rainy morning, and perhaps the fact that many people were going out of town for last week’s festival, meant that we had plenty of elbow room. 

As far as operating any kind of vehicle on the regular roads, we have no such inclination.  We are quite happy to catch the bus, taxi, or ride with locals in their personal vehicles (mostly with people from the school).  Here are a few pictures we took that day of people in transit.  As I’m writing this post, I realize we have not photographed the multitude of luxury cars that are in this neighborhood.  BMW’s, Jaguars, Mercedes Benz, Porsches, and other models are packed into the Lotus parking lot. 

View of the train station from the Xi'an City Wall.

The traffic was lighter that morning coming into the South Gate of the City Wall, likely because of the time of day.

The rain meant that the cars really needed to be washed.  The dust in the air made our rain jackets look about like this car!

Bicycles really are the most versatile and reliable vehicles, it seems, in these narrow streets on the Muslim quarter.

Naptime didn't have to wait for this little passenger!  I snapped the photo out the bus window.

An intersection in Muslim quarter.  Below are photos Ben and I took from the inside of one of these vehicles on our first (and possibly only :) ride.

Lots of safety features, like windshields, and a skilled driver(There was no brake for back seat drivers.  I checked.)