19 November 2006

The Ping Pong Tournament

So the Chinese are super serious about ping pong. It is one of the activities that our students can play after lunch and numerous students are pretty good, so the school decided to create a ping pong tournament. It started off as something for the students, with separate pools for the girls and the boys. Our middle school and high school ruled in that tournament, with one of my 6th grade homeroom students winning for the boys and one of our German students winning for the girls.
Then the coordinator decided to involve us teachers. Normally that would be a good idea, but we have two groups of teachers, the Chinese, who are really good at table tennis and the Americans, who aren't terribly talented (at all!). Trying to be fair, the first round paired a Chinese against an American, which resulted in almost all of the Americans being eliminated. Then, to help even the playing ground, they redid the pairings to have the Americans playing each other. Either way, I lost big time. I played the first grade Chinese teacher who beat me quite quickly and then I played Lindsey who beat me just as swiftly (she grew up with a ping pong table in her rec room). Needless to say, I don't terribly enjoy playing, but I tried to be a good sport and I even scored a few points in the process :)

Our Admissions administrator, Jessica, playing Megan with our smiley security guard looking on.

Our Dean, Mrs. Tang, playing Fiona, the art teacher, with our principal keeping score.

The Americans teachers chillin' after getting beat.

I've said it before and I'll repeat it again here, the biggest surprise in teaching this year has been how much I love teaching science. I never enjoyed the natural sciences or math in school and I was really nervous to teach it. Overall, the best experience by far has been teaching these two hours a week. The students love to do "experiments" (it's hard to call them actually experiments because we're not following true scientific procedure, but oh well). Right now we are studying energy (light, sound, heat, electrical, potential, kinetic, etc.) and last week it was really sunny. When I saw that, I made up a light and heat energy experiment on the spot--the pyro use-a-magnifying-glass-to-burn-stuff experiment and the kids loved it. Our hypothesis was that the green or the red paper would burn quickest. They were so patient and tried very hard to get it to burn. Some of them were successful and then a few of them had the genius idea of finding a black marker and coloring the paper. Then they were all successful and that's why I love science class.

One of my homeroom students trying to light the pink paper on fire.

Our Taiwanese student trying her luck at some more paper.

Success! That's black marker with a hole burned in the middle (in case you can't tell :)

One of my other homeroom students trying his luck at the colored black paper.

Two of the Korean girls trying so patiently to get the black paper to catch on fire--I don't think they were successful because the sun disappeared towards the end of the period, perfect timing!

I do love it: A day in the life of Rachel=ping pong and science. Could it get any better?!?


No comments: