- Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don't.
- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
- It is not enough to have a good pickaxe; the main thing is to use it well
- The time is always right to do what is right.
- In the end, you know it's all just blocks.
- I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Even though the classroom for the summer camp was held in the newest part of the school, with air conditioning, I often felt disheveled, sweaty and awkward up in front of the class. I really came to appreciate the movie we showed the kids, a movie that stayed with the theme of following your dreams, Kung Fu Panda. It features a big, awkward but well-meaning panda living in a village populated by much smaller animals.
This feeling of being a clumsy red-faced foreigner was the worst on the last day of summer camp, when the Power point I had prepared about the "I Have a Dream" speech refused to work. I had matched short clips of excerpts from the speech with words and pictures and in fact had stayed up late getting it ready. And now it didn't work and I didn't know why. And the heat felt stifling, even with the air conditioning. And the kids were tired too and clearly not that interested in studying the "I Have a Dream" Speech at that point. Oh well, got through the lesson somehow and I felt very disappointed with myself that I didn't have a good Plan B up my sleeve or better activities for the kids for that last lesson.
Two days later, the teachers held the "closing ceremony" for the camp. I think the Chinese are pretty big on pomp and circumstance but perhaps I lack a basis for comparison. Anyway, I was asked to be there but I had no idea that I was the center of attention at this ceremony. Because foreign teachers are so hard to come by around here, it seems my participation in the summer camp was a big deal.
In the ESL teacher forums, I have read that sometimes you can get a swelled head living abroad. If you are a native English speaker, you can get a job, in fact, you can get lots of job offers. Well, they made such a fuss over me at this closing ceremony, it was enough to turn anyone's head. The kids came up in groups and thanked and hugged me. A group of boys got together and presented me with a stuffed panda.
And when a shy little girl slips her arm around your neck and whispers, "I love you," how can you not get a little choked up?