Nov 25, 2011

The Singapore project

It’s very hush-hush

Yesterday, our head teacher asked if Peter and I could switch off once a week talking with a group of kids. She was kind of vague on the phone (though she was careful to stress that we’d get paid extra), but I said yes and showed up at her office at the appointed time. This is the way things work around here a lot of times. Her and another teacher whisked me off to a classroom, one of them saying, “We must go to the Singapore project.” That sounds exciting!

Turns out, they want us to help give practice college entrance interviews for a group of students who are applying to university in Singapore. Conversing with the kids while they try out their English is my favorite part of the job, and these kids, as potential ESL study abroad students, are some of the brightest in the school. It’s really cool to hear their stories.

I’m not sure where it comes from, whether it’s the nature of Chinese or how they’re taught English, but they say some really poetic things sometimes. One kid told me, “My teacher asked me to come up with a reason why I am unique, but I regret to say that I am just a common boy.” So we talked about basketball and how important his friends are to him. He also told me that both his parents are teachers. I asked him if he wanted to be a teacher, and he was savvy enough to say, “While I respect teaching a lot, I do not think it is for me.”

(Co-incidentally, Peter and I have just started talking about Singapore as a destination for our winter break. I’ll have to see what these kids know about the city. City-state. Whatever it is.)