Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just a short note to say: home soon!

My first year in China is coming to an end in a few days and I am ecstatic to get home! The last day of school was on Friday, followed by a staff party.  Monday and Tuesday will be PD days; Wednesday I plan on packing and relaxing; Thursday I fly home! Yippee!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tigers and dragons and rats - oh my!

Post #2 of my especially fantastic week: Dinner with Sarah Brennan

A month or so ago our school had a book fair.  Students, parents and teachers could go down to the school's gallery and choose from an assortment of English titles ranging from pictures books to novels.  It was at this book fair that I first fell in love with Sarah Brennan's Chinese Calendar tales.  I  was teeming with anticipation as I rushed over to the ATM machine so I could add books starring Temujin (teh-ma-gin) the tiger, Run Run Rat, and Chester Choi (the dragon) to my collection of children's books.  I was irrationally worried (as I am wont to be when I am excited about something) that they would be sold out by the time I was back. I couldn't wait to share them with my students.  Not once did it cross my realm of possibility that I'd soon be having dinner with the author of these unique and clever children's books.  

The day I heard Sarah Brennan was coming to our school I was flabbergasted.  I knew this would be a wonderful experience for my students (and for me as well).  While we waited I made sure to read The Tale of Chester Choi (my personal favourite) and Run Run Rat (a close second).  I never got around to reading The Tale of Temujin for them, which worked out to be the best because that is the very story that Sarah Brennan was going to read for us. 

Brennan spent two days at our school reading to the grades 1 to 5 classes.  My grade four class and I had 40 minutes all to ourselves and we enjoyed a very animated reading of The Tale of Temujin. Don't tell my students, but we also learned a lot of history about Genghis Khan for whom Temujin's character is based on.  During the reading my students listened attentively and laughed aloud with glowing faces.  I love my school, I love my students and I love teaching, but to do what Sarah Brennan does is  a job straight from my dreams.  

Then, near the end of the first day, I checked my email to find an invitation from the principal to have dinner with Brennan and a few other teachers.  I was on top of the world to be invited and replied that I would love to go.  

Dinner was at the nearby Kempinski hotel and on the school.  It was early (4:30) so the place was empty, but the food was delicious.  Even better was the company.  Sarah was down to earth, hilarious and full of stories to tell.   I ate up every word! I'd love to do what she does.  Maybe someday :)