So here we are, back to Monday and some semblance of normalcy.
I posted a few messages on Facebook, but with all the excitement of yesterday here in Tainan, I inadvertently forgot to say something yesterday in my blog: HAPPY CANADA DAY!
Unfortunately, Taiwan doesn’t recognize Canada’s birthday, as an official holiday. I don’t think many people even know when Canada’s birthday is, but ask them about the US National holiday… everyone seems to know July 4th!
Typical Monday… a couple of classes, then since my private was cancelled, headed over to Giraffe. With all the excitement and pressure of the storytelling competition, there are some day-to-day issues that need taking care of.
One of teachers, whom I must say, I’ve gotten to know as a very good friend, has decided to leave Giraffe.
Carrie has been part of Giraffe as long as I’ve been working with Giraffe. I’m not exactly sure what her long-term goals are, but she is planning on taking a bit of a holiday for now, and travel Taiwan. She tossed around a couple of ideas with me, and asked that I kind of keep it to myself. As a friend, and a decent person, I will respect her wishes.
Carrie, you’ve become a good friend. We’ve known each other for a while, and I think we’ve both realized that we are great educators. You can still pack away more food in one day than me, and that I will always remember! It will be a bit strange not seeing you around Giraffe, but like others before you, you’re memory will linger, and life will (and must) go on.
You will be missed, not only by your fellow teachers, but I’m sure your students will miss you as well. Take care, good luck in your future plans, and please, keep in touch. You’re addicted to Facebook just like so many others, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing and chatting with you often. Take care, my friend!
Since Carrie is leaving, her classes will be distributed to the other teachers. Some students will be leaving Giraffe, while others will carry on. This was part of what Janice and I had to discuss tonight. It was also a good time to catch Janice up on where the various classes are in their work.
New books need to be ordered, new students will need copies of materials for their new classes… All these changes go effect this week.
I also saw Elva and Jonas. Elva won FIRST PLACE in her storytelling. Her brother, Jonas, didn’t place at all. Elva seemed to be in good spirits, and was admiring her trophy sitting on my desk. Jonas, who I expected was going to be sad, didn’t seem to be phased at all! It was like nothing had happened!
Apparently, his father took him to an amusement park (somewhere?) for the day. Just he and his dad. It looks like he’s had his chat with mom and dad, knows that, even though he didn’t win the competition, it wasn’t the end of the world. He had a great day, was late for class, so he was back to his normal self.
It was a good thing I didn’t need to use my desk today at Giraffe. Not that I really use that much anyway. But it was sure nice to see all these awards sitting there when I walked in!
The National Finals are being held in Taipei this year on August 12th. The Nationals are a bit different than the Regionals of course. At this competition, our students will be competing with ALL the First and Second (and in a couple categories, THIRD place) winners from ALL the other regions. This is the big one. From this competition, I encourage the students to (of course) do their best and have fun, but don’t go into the competition wanting FIRST PLACE.
Aim low. I realize that is a crazy attitude, but if I encourage them to get at least THIRD PLACE, then if they win SECOND or FIRST, all the better. I do believe that each one of these kids can get, at the very least, THIRD PLACE. If they do that, I will be very happy for them. I will still be proud and happy for them, no matter what placing they take. May realized that last year, when she didn’t win in her category. She felt like Jonas did this weekend.
However, she picked herself up, and competed this year, and so far, has a great winning attitude. There are a lot more competitors at the National level, and the competition is fierce! This is the competition that the teachers and managers of the schools are probably a lot more on edge and nervous than the students. After all, school honor is at stake! We did very well last year, and in previous years, so I expect we will do well this year.
My prediction, as always for the Nationals, we will take home THIRD PLACE in all our categories. I have to realize that, these students of ours will be going against students from Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Taipei – as well as other areas of Taiwan. However, these three cities, are the three largest cities and a lot more competitive and cosmopolitan than Tainan. Learning English in these cities, is almost a necessity. These cities are the internationally known cities in Taiwan.
We have our work cut out for us. Yes, we are champions in this area/region, and have always been respectable on the national scene as well. I will be a lot more ‘picky’ and tougher on the kids for the next few weeks of practice. Help them to get the ‘bugs’ out of their stories. Pronunciation, intonation, and expression is foremost. They already know the stories, so now it’s time to up their game.
That’s it, that’s all… for now!