Sunday, May 29, 2011

Can I Be Proud?

So there are only a couple weeks left of Chinese School this year... we are getting to crunch time.  Each week the laoshi (teacher) has been testing each of the students to see where they how, how much they learned, and if they can move onto the next grade... there ain't No Child Left Behind Policy at Chinese School let me tell you!

G and Ping Chinese School
These are the events of this last Saturday's Chinese School, and why I'm so proud...

Me:  So the girls have been practicing really hard these last couple of weeks.
Laoshi:  Oh, dat good.  If dey keep Chinese learning over summer, den maybe they can move onto next year.  If not, then they should stay here.
Me:  Well, we are going to be working with them over the summer.  And we have a great tutor who is going to come during the summer months to help as well.
Laoshi:  Oh, dat is good.

... the class trundles on pretty much without event... until the testing starts...

Me:  Okay girls, the laoshi is going to come around with the papers, she is going to point at stuff on the paper, and ask you to say it in Chinese.  Even if you can't understand what she is asking, just say the Chinese word she is pointing to... okay?
G:  Okay!
Ping:  WHAT?!  WHAT YOU SAY?!  LOOK!  I'm colouring!!!
Me:  Yes Ping, that is beautiful.  Do you know what to do when the teacher asks you something?
Ping: Hmmmmmmm... I donno about that.  I think ... LOOK!  PURPLE FEET!  I coloured dis purple.  And this.  And ALLLLLL this!
Me:  Yes, lovely.  Focus!  Oh snap, here comes the teacher...

... the teacher takes G off to the side, and sits down with the sheets of paper.
I can hear the exchange.

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  Liang ge li.

Laoshi looks up a little surprise...

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  Yi gu wan jiu xiou.

Laoshi snaps her head up and looks right at me.  I just smile, and shrug my shoulders.  G was nailing it!  She was even getting the tones correct and everything.

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  San ge bu wa wa.
Laoshi:  Yes!  Perfect!  How you do so good?!
G:  I donno.  *shrug*

They burn through the rest of the test.  Then the teacher turns to me...

Laoshi:  Who taught her this?
Me:  I did.
Laoshi:  No no.  The Chinese.  *obviously thinking I did not understand her question*  Who taught her these words.
Me:  Uh, I did.
Laoshi:  You?
Me:  Yup.
Laoshi:  Wow.  She did perfect.  She did so good.  And you taught her?
Me:  Yes, I taught her.
Laoshi:  Thank you.

Then the laoshi did the same test with Ping, and she did great too.  I was so proud!  My little babies!  Despite the odds... despite not being "Chinese" or having native speaking Chinese parents, my little girls are actually doing it.  Now, are they tops in the class?  No, not at all.  Are they given a lot of grace because they are stuck with some "da bi zi" for a parent trying to teach them chinese... yes.  Yes they are.  But they are in there trying!  I'm so proud of them.

On our way out of the class, the laoshi grabbed me one more time...

Laoshi:  She did so good. *motioning to G*
Me:  Yea, we practice a lot at home, and they know the words.  They just get lost during the class because there is so much Chinese, and everyone is talking pretty fast.
Laoshi:  You must practice so many hours with them.  And she only be here, 4 months?  I'm going to talk to my boss.  See if we can get her a special prize for how much she learned!
Me:  Hey!  Hear that baby!  You might get a special prize for how well you are doing in Chinese school!
G:  Really?!  A prize?!  WOW!
Me:  Yea, ummm... I guess we'll leave now.

I'm so proud of my babies!  :-)


  1. What do you do to practice outside of school (besides adopting another Chinese speaking child :) )? I'm looking for something to use with my 7 year old this summer who just finished her first year of Chinese.

  2. I've been using the website for most of my lessons. It is a great website to learn as the lessons are all about 10 ~ 12 minutes long. Perfect for the ride into work.

    The other thing that helps is that the Chinese school the girls attend, has been gracious enough to let me stay in the class with them. So at least I know what they are learning, and I can help them use their vocabulary when the opportunity arises. The books they got from the school, and the hand outs from class have been terrific. But without someone to help translate the Chinese to Pinyin, then the Pinyn to English - I would be pretty lost. Thats where my co-workers come in. :-)

    I have the joy of working with many Mandarin speaking co-workers. If I have a question, I can ask them for help. :-) They can take the Chinese "homework" and translate it for me, so at least I have a fighting chance to help teach the girls.