Friday, July 22, 2016

Goodbye Hangzhou

I am sitting here at Starbucks enjoying my final day of people watching in Hangzhou.  What a spectacular experience it has been.  I am leaving Greentown Yuah School for the second time with new memories, new friends, and an expanded view of teaching.  I truly feel that I am leaving here having learned just as much, if not more, as the educators I came to teach.  The teachers in Greentown are fantastic, passionate, and progressive.  It really was wonderful getting to work with them again this summer.  Their enthusiasm is quite inspirational.

As for the students, our leader from Greentown made it known that the kids who go through our 10 day program in the summer return in the fall as the strongest students in the grade.  Hearing that made me not only proud of our program, but also proud of the students.  They worked so hard during their time with us and it clearly shows through in their educational journey.  After two summers of teaching high school students, I am shocked at how much I have enjoyed the experience.  I often say that I love working with second grade because the students are so eager to learn.  What I am finding out is that high school students are just as eager, especially when given the opportunity to be creative.  It has really altered my view of older students.

As an educator, it's so critical for us to continue working on our practice and understanding on the profession.  My experiences here in Hangzhou have taught me more than I could have ever imagined about teaching.  My memories from here will be shaping my practice in my own classroom for years to come.  All I can say at this point is that I do not see this as my last time in China.  I hope to return next summer and for years to come.

This is far from the end of my journey, though.  Although we are leaving Hangzhou this afternoon,  I still have another eight days in China.  Tonight we fly to Xian to see the infamous terra-cotta warriors.  From there we will be flying to the northern part of the country to explore the Gobi Desert, which I am really looking forward to.  Last year we travelled through the tourist areas.  This year we are going off the beaten path to enjoy some truly once in a lifetime experiences.  I will try to keep my blog going as best I can over the next week, but I am not sure of the quality of internet I will have.

I will leave you with this photo of a uniquely Chinese view that I saw as I left my apartment last night.  Bears and cats hanging outside windows XD

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