Monday, January 7, 2008

The End of the Semester

The semester is rapidly coming to a close; starting January 11, we'll have a six-week break from classes for the Chinese Spring Festival celebration. Tomorrow I'm giving my last two exams and Wednesday I'm headed to Hong Kong to catch my flight to Newark and then Orlando. I'll be home visiting my family for two weeks! Can't wait to see everyone, satisfy some major food cravings, and relax in comfort for a while. After Winter Springs, I'll be in Hong Kong for a few days, then flying to Bangkok to meet up with Scott. We're planning to spend about two weeks bumming around and sightseeing in the south of Thailand. Classes don't start up again until February 24, so there's plenty of time for all that!

Final exams for Oral English class are pretty simple. I'm giving the high school students two- to three- minute individual interviews consisting of questions about their plans for Spring Festival (Where are you going? What will you do? What will you eat? etc) The college students are each making a three- minute speech answering the questions, "If you could travel to any city in the world, where would it be and why? What would you do there? Tell me about your trip."

Giving out grades has proven to be a bit tricky, however. I have a fair idea of what to give most students, but there are those quiet few in the back who I don't know as well that make things slightly more difficult. I hope that I'm able fairly evaluate everyone. I've completed the grades for one high school class; there are 14 A's, 13 B's, 11 C's, 3 D's, and 6 failing grades for those students who didn't bother to come to class or to the final exam. Seems a fair and even a bit top- heavy distribution.

I'm looking forward to my travel plans, but strangely I feel a little sad about leaving Zhanjiang for such a long time. I will miss the students, other Chinese teachers, my favorite restaurants, my apartment, and just the sheer entertainment of life here as a foreigner.


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