Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Students!!

Here are 6 of my Senior Journalism students (we took this photo after class one morning on campus... what a beautiful University we have)!

These are some of my Sophomore speaking students.  Our team had a fall party where students came over and carved their first every Jack-O-Lanterns on our front porch!  I didn't think we could find pumpkins in Dalat- but lo and behold- the market had short greenish pumpkins :)  They were SO creative with them!!

This is another Sophomore student, who is actually about my age... oldest in her class.  She just got married to the father of her little baby boy.  Maren and I went to her one-room-house for a wedding party... which was dinner on the floor by candlelight since the electricity was out.  It's very different here- if someone has a birthday or wedding, they are the party hosts and do all the work... whereas it's the opposite back home (others throw a party in your honor).

So you can picture a few of my students.  In all, I have taught about 330 different students.  My mind is swimming with names most of the time- I feel badly I can't remember more names :(  I have a bad memory as it is... with names in my own culture!  Oh, dear.

Here are a few other tidbits about my students...

  • My senior students have very high level English skills.  I am blown away by the words they use sometimes, or the questions they ask me.  Just last night I went to grab a bit to eat with a group of girls, and our conversation was very fluid and intelligent.  They even use idioms and can make good jokes in English- that's impressive stuff!  One topic many students continue to bring up is that of couples living together before getting married.  It's definitely a hot issue on campus right now.  Traditional Vietnamese values do not allow couples to live together before marriage.  But sadly, many VN youth have adopted the ways of the West.  Way to go America (ARG!).  I was able to share my view with the students in several ways... and use the "Christmas present" analogy- you can only open it once!  They seemed to connect with that.  I hope I can speak into these girls' lives more and more- they are super sharp!
  • My sophomore students are all spending these next three weeks in "military training"... learning how to use guns, taking some sort of written exam, etc.  Every student in the country, male and female, must complete the training so they will be ready and equipped if ever called upon by their communist country.  All regular classes are pushed aside during this time.  
  • My freshman students are definitely at a very different level than my senior students in every way imaginable- maturity, pronunciation and speaking skills, class behavior, etc.  I feel bad that some of them are learning the hard way.  For example, I have had to give low "marks" on assignments because students didn't follow any of my instructions, handed it in during class rather than the beginning when I asked for it, or copied another's students' work word for word.  Today I handed back a bunch of homework and they looked stricken at the low scores.  I had to stick to it though, and they will be better students because of it.  Those who copied each other's work even came up and apologized to me after class- which was very much appreciated.  I'm anxious to see if everyone has their homework done BEFORE class next time :)  It's important to train the students well their first year... 
  • During a recent quiz in Journalism class... I walked back to one student who was looking at his neighbor's paper- and made a BIG X on the top... which I had previously warned the students about.  If I saw them talking or looking at another paper, I would mark an X on their paper, and that means they get a ZERO.  So the entire class watched me walk to the back row, and my heart was beating like crazy, and it was one of the hardest things for me to draw an X on his paper and then walk back to the front of the class.  A murmur went through the class of 90 some students.  As I stood up in the front for the rest of the quiz with teary eyes, I think I understood for the first time what my parents meant when they spanked me and said, "This hurts me more than it hurts you."  I really love my students and want to believe the best in them and see them succeed!
Please ask that the Father will continue to give me wisdom in the classroom, and love for my students.  I would also appreciate your thoughts for good health- I think I have had some food poisoning this week :(  And I continue to treat the burn blister on my leg that I got after getting off a motorbike taxi this weekend.  C'est la vie.  The good news is that the medication I needed for my burn was $1.00 over the counter (whereas it requires prescription stateside- as well as several more dollars I would assume).  The perks of life in Asia :)


Gow_spot said...

suze- you are taller than all your students! amazing!

one question.. how come they are all studying english? what do they want to do with it? what are their goals?

thanks for bloggin and sharing your world with us!

keep loving on those girls!

Suzy said...

Yep- I am VERY tall here... or "high" as my students describe me :) They can all get MUCH better jobs if they speak English- many of them want to be English teachers (just like in the states we have "Spanish teachers" who are not from Latin American countries- there are many VN who teach English)... some want to be tour guides, translators, interpreters, or work in the business field... it's WAY popular here- everyone wants to practice their English with us... so we have to draw the boundaries and really focus on students. I love your blog too- the pics. are so fun- Sally is just too cute. Did I mention I have a cute little nephew names Sam... hm... Sam and Sally- could be a good match one day!! Ha, ha.

matthew said...

cool pictures

Jenn said...

great stories suz. Thanks for keeping up with this and sharing your life! I can just see you walking up and putting that big black X on the paper... dang suz!

Love you friend.

Anonymous said...

I love the part where you walked to the back of the room and put the big X on the paper of the student who was cheating. Way to go . . . way to demand R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You're the best!