Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Interview: Part Two

After my Chinese teacher interviewed me, I was inspired to see what my kids had to say about school, life, and having fun!  So, I asked my Facebook friends what they wanted to know about my kids and let the kids do the talking.  Here’s what you wanted to know.

My 4th grade experts love to clown around.

How do you get to school?
Most of my students get to school by car, however a couple of them walk or take a school bus.

When do you go to school?  When do you go home?
On Monday through Thursday, the kids are in school from 8:20 until 4:15.  On Friday, they have half days so teachers can meet, grade and plan.

Here's a copy of our schedule. 

What subjects do you take in school?
In 4th grade, students take Math, Chinese, English, Science, Art, Music, PE, swimming, and Hobby Corner.  Classes are anywhere from 35-90 minutes long.  I see my classes for one hour twice a week.  They don’t take computer classes in fourth grade, but I believe some computing and programming skills are taught in the younger grades.

Kids practice their roller blading skills in PE

Some people asked if students were involved in clubs.  The answer is yes!  Every Friday morning from 10:15-11:35 kids participate in Hobby Corner.  Kids participate in activities such as band, magic club, chorus, doll making, English corner, math club, Lego robotics, Odyssey of the Mind and much more! 

In addition to the activities mentioned above, the kids do daily marching drills and eye exercises. 

China promotes wellness through mandatory marching exercises in schools.
Kids complete eye exercises to prevent Myopia.
How long do you spend doing homework each night?  Where do you do your homework? 
Most of the kids responded that they do much of their homework during breaks at school, but they have around an hour worth of homework per night at home.  They told me their parents sometimes help them with their homework.  I have also seen teachers help kids during their planning period.  (Teachers in China usually only teach one subject at the elementary level, and they have 2-4 classes per day, which leaves them with lots of time for planning, research, and supporting students.)

Many times kids will work on homework between classes.

What does your lunch look like?
All students in the school eat warm school lunches. These lunches usually have meat or fish, rice, and veggies.   Instead of drinking milk, kids drink soup.  On birthdays, some kids bring in pizza, wings and cake to celebrate.

The school also provides breakfast and lunch for teachers to ensure no one goes hungry.

What do you do on the weekends?
Most of my students take English, Math and/or Chinese lessons on the weekend. In Shanghai, the average student spends 25 hours outside of school in academic classes.  Student performance in elementary school determines where the kiddo will attend middle school.  Kids need to attend good middle schools in order to be accepted into good high schools.  Doing well in a good high school is the only way kids are accepted into Chinese Universities.  I have had first grade parents approach me about tutoring their children so they can get into a good middle school.   As you can imagine, there is much pressure to perform well on exams. 

In addition to academic classes many kids also take sports, arts, and music lessons on the weekend.

What holidays do you celebrate?  What is your favorite holiday?
Most of my kids’ favorite holiday is Children’s Day.  On Children’s Day kids get gifts, eat big meals, and spend the day shopping or playing. 

Many kids also mentioned liking Halloween because they trick or treat at home and at school.

What is your favorite food?  What do you like to eat?
They love western fast food; pizza and fried chicken!

On birthdays, kids bring in pizza, wings, cake and orange juice.  Luckily they invite all of their teachers to join them for lunch!

Do you have gum in China? 
Yes we do, but many of the kids don’t like it.

Do you take art classes?
Yep!  They seem to make many things out of foam like clay.  They also do many international art projects around the holidays.

These two foam penguins were a gift from second grade art class.
Do you like playing with iPads?  What games do you like to play?
They LOVE playing with iPads.  They especially enjoy playing Minecraft!

Do you like to watch TV?  If so what do you like to watch?
Many kids reported watching maybe 30 minutes of TV per day.  With lessons, homework, and other activities there really isn’t much time. 

What music do you like?
Most kids love Chinese Pop, especially the song Xiao Pingguo. (Little Apple) 

They also love dancing to YMCA. 

Why are Chinese kids so well behaved?
From the time they set foot in the school, kids are taught to respect teachers.  Also, Chinese teachers run their classrooms with a velvet fist.  They are strict, but caring.

You asked, and they answered.  Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this Q & A session!