yesterday was our first day teaching some of the older kids. the fifth floor has three classrooms, each of which have about 6 kids. the class that we got to help out with and teach probably has the oldest kids. they range from 9-13 and the class only has about two boys compared to the six girls. everyday they have three hours of class in the morning and then three hours of class in the afternoon.
on the first day, we gave all of them english names after they told us their chinese names. somehow english names are just so much easier to remember. when they first told us their chinese names, i noticed that they all had the last name “fu” as if to come from “er tong fu li yuan” (child welfare center) which is the name of the orphanage. the kids were really happy about their names and they are all so caring of each other. if one classmate forgets their name, the others will immediately try and help them. a brief run down of each of our students:
leah: while she can’t walk, she’s definitely the most talkative of the bunch. the first day i talked to her she talked about her mother had abandoned her when she was five. she even asked me how old i was when i was abandoned by my family, which was really sad. lucas: i’m not sure if he can walk/stand on his own because i have only ever seem him riding on this little scooter car thing, but he always has a lot of fun learning. i think his new favorite word is “blueberry” kyle: i only recently learned that he has a physical disability which makes his muscles really weak and thus he can’t really pick up anything heavy. but he is definitely the older brother figure of the bunch. he always makes me laugh and is one of the most helpful students. jane: the oldest but one of the quietest. while i’m not exactly sure what disability she has, i think she’s autistic. she doesn’t say much in class but when she was singing with the other students, she seemed so into it. mary: also in a wheelchair but that definitely has not stopped her from doing anything. she gets really excited in class about everything and also loves headbands. ivy: the youngest and the smallest, she can’t control her bowel movements which means she can’t walk on her own and always has a collection bag attached to her. but she is absolutely adorable! anna: along with kyle, she is definitely one of the most helpful. it seems like nothing is wrong with her but yanfang(the orphanage worker that we are staying with) says that she had severe mental disabilities when she was younger that she sees to be have successfully been able to conquer. i hope that she can one day be adopted.
thinking back to my middle school days, i don’t think i was as appreciative of everything as these kids are. we taught them fruit words in english today but only realized afterward that most of them have only heard of these fruits but had never actually tasted them in real life. one girl said she loved blueberries but only knew that because she once had a popsicle with blueberry jam and had never actually seen a fresh blueberry in real life.
teaching the older kids has been a good break from playing with a lot of the younger kids. i think i have a new appreciation for preschool teachers because managing toddlers can be so tiring. they are constantly running around and wanting to be picked up. their cute faces are way too irresistible to not pick them up! i just want to bring them home but i am really hoping that one day, they will be adopted into a loving family. but for now, their orphanage lifestyle doesn’t seem all too bad. i’m not sure how happy all the kids are, but i’m sure they make the best of everything they have. for now i think the best way to describe them would be content.
…sorry for the long post!