August 5, 2012

One more week.

Next Sunday is the finals for the Giraffe National Story telling Competition. As I’ve probably said a couple times by now, I don’t know who’s more excited or nervous… the kids or me?

I kind of get the impression that our school is a bit unique in how we go about choosing the students for the contest. We hold class competitions, where two or three students in each class and level are taught the stories in class, then compete with each other. Then, each student is given a chance to vote for who THEY feel should represent their class.

A couple of weeks later, then we have the school competition. All the students from the various classes, compete with each other at their appropriate level. From this, three students at each level are chosen to compete. A couple of weeks later, during an award ceremony or some other event, part of the show is the competition of the three students in each level. Of these students, one from each level is chosen.

Then the practice begins. This is the time that these five students begin practicing seriously. We get about a month to get things organized, sets designed, costumes figured out, etc. The night practices become later and later, until the Regional competition. I really must admit, that even though the hours are late some nights, I actually enjoy this part of the process. This is where I can help the kids to hone their pronunciations. Work on their actions and body language. This is where I feel like an artist, taking all the materials I need for my project, and see it come to life.

I’ve been trying, over the past couple of years, to video the kids presentation on the first day after the school competition. Then, video the night before the competition. It’s fun to see the progress after a month or so of practices.

This year, 2012, our school did extremely well. After last year’s competition, I really wanted the students, each of them, to get first place. At the time, I was under the impression, like always, that we would only have four competitors. This year, however, we actually had five. However, my hope did come true… four of the kids took home first place at the Regionals. It would have been great if all five had won, but that wasn’t the case. Nonetheless, the mere fact that we, Giraffe-Nanmen took home four of the ten invites from the region, is very exciting.

Then began the practices for the National Competition. One student was away for three weeks at a summer camp in England. It was virtually impossible to connect, even via Internet or Skype with him, so we carried on with the other three students.

Again, video the first practice after the regionals, and again the night before we will leave for the competition, to be in Taipei this year. Set designs become a bit more elaborate. Issues that occurred during the regionals, get looked at and adjusted.

This time around though, it’s a little tougher for the kids. And I can also see that the parents are a little more involved this year as well. I can see that all the parents are very happy this year. Their children got first for the level, then first at the school competition, then first in the regionals. A clean sweep – first in Taipei?

Personally, I’m not so concerned if they don’t get first place. I would rather they work hard enough to get at least third. That would still give the school, if each of them got third place, about 35-40% of all the top prizes available. I’m not sure about Janice or the parents, butI know I will be a happy campter. If they all get third or better, then I feel I will have accomplished what I set out to do this year.

So today was a day for me to just relax, and not think about anything. I did get some more painting accomplished, some more printing for my classes this week, and just generally kept busy with lots of little things today. This week will be a write-off as far as personal life, so I may as well get as much personal work done as I can.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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