I first met "Daizzy" when she was a trainee on a teacher-training course I ran in her County, some 17 years ago [ringed in above photo]. We've kept in touch since then and finally met up again yesterday when she visited Kunming on school business. Since that week way back in 2006 we have both got married (different spouses!) and had a total of three children! But we are both still teaching, and it was great to meet her over a cup of coffee and share all our news.
JD's Primary School sent out a text the other day which, when translated by my phone, read...
"In order to thoroughly study and implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important statement on education, and cultivate the self-esteem, self-confidence, rationale, peaceful and positive attitude of primary and secondary school students, in accordance with the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening Mental Health Services of 22 Departments such as the National Health and Family Planning Commission (National Health and Disease Control , the Ministry of Education on Printing and Distributing the Guiding Outline of Mental Health Education in Primary and Secondary Schools (Revised in 2012), the Education Leading Group of the Provincial Party Committee, Notice on Printing and Distributing the Work Plan for Preventing and Containing Personal Extreme Events of Students in Yunnan Province and the Notice of the Yunnan Provincial Department of Education, Yunnan Provincial Health Commission and Yunnan Women's Federation on the Evaluation of the Mental Health Status of Primary and Secondary School Students, after research, it was decided to carry out the evaluation of students' mental health status."
Saturdays is no longer a day off for me! I take JD on my e-bike to his homework club for 9am and then drive on to an adult class for a 1½ hour English lesson. At the end I have to whizz away quickly to get to 1½ hour kids' class [see photos below] which finishes at 1pm. I then pick JD up and head home for a quick snack before a 2.00pm one-to-one lesson at home. After 1½ hours with that ten-year old I say my goodbyes and welcome a 7-yearold for a final hour!
Thankfully I have so far been able to keep Sundays free to recover!
JD's school has been driving Jiajia and I up the wall recently.
During the Winter holidays, we were told that his exams, postponed from last term, would take place in the first week back, so JD spent the last half of his "holidays" reviewing and preparing for the exams. But, when he returned to school last week, we were told they would take place in the second week after all. Now we have been told it will be the third week. This lack of planning and these constant last-minute decisions makes us despair of trying to get things ready. The Chinese education system seems to be so ad hoc and inefficient - my University is the same.
This last week, JD has been finishing his daily homework sometime after 11pm. We've heard other kids in his class are not finishing until 1am. His patient after-school tutor [Wang LaoShi - see photo above] keeps him going until everything is completed. And yet the other day, JiaJia got a phone call from JD's teacher saying that he was "not focusing in class" and was "working too slowly". JiaJia replied, "...yes, his writing can be slow, which is why he rarely gets to bed before midnight these days, which in turn might explain his lack of focus in class..." Sometimes his teacher just needs telling!
Past blog entries