After a full day of meetings with the Changshu Education Bureau Mr Mitchell and Mr Chester were very keen to get into school and catch up with everyone today. A highlight each day for the teachers is arriving at school each morning and hearing the latest home-stay stories. Shawna has been to the movies, Georgie is a Mahjong expert and Suzy and several of the other girls have been taken out for a hair wash and head massage. There are some weird and wonderful things being eaten and everyone is doing their best to accept each challenge as it comes.
After attending the first 2 lessons of the day the students met in the library and we were then taken on a walk to the top of Yushan Mountain. It was a very scenic walk through the forest, up hundreds of steps along side a rushing stream. At the top of the mountain we found the Jianmen Scenic Region, the Sword Tower and the Zang Hai Buddhist Temple. There were also spectacular views of the city below us from the edge of the cliffs. On the way to the top most student took the opportunity to buy a snack and a drink. Lauren and Shantaz didn’t need a snack as they bravely shared a burger from KFC that was left over from last night’s dinner!
After some time enjoying this beautiful area we walked back to the bottom of the mountain and the students went back to have lunch at school with their Pals.
The teachers had lunch at a very famous tea house next to another temple and enjoyed a traditional lunch of local mushrooms and noodles with the English teachers from CFLMS. This was a great opportunity for us all to get to know one another and ask each other questions about teaching and learning in our respective countries.
In the afternoon the students participated in a Kung Fu lesson in the gymnasium and Mr Mitchell, Mel and Mr Johnston ran an English lesson for 100 students and 30 teachers all at once! Mr Mitchell did so well he has been invited to take a couple of lessons next week for the English teachers. He has been given a text book to teach from and will have a large group of teachers observing his lesson.
Mr Mitchell and Mr Chester met with 2 of the English teachers, Angela and Oscar, in the afternoon to plan some work our students can do together next year. The first project will involve our 2013 year 7 students comparing school-life with some year 8 students from CFLMS. We are hoping this will be the first of many collaborative projects with our Chinese friends.