Rapping “Hamilton” in Shijiazhuang

Well, you knew it was bound to happen eventually.

It’s day 3 of teaching, and I am honestly ridiculously pleased with how everything is going. These kids are all so sweet and pleasant and incredibly respectful, and they never complain about a single thing I ask them to do. Granted, I’m having them play games and do relatively fun things when their usual teachers lecture for 40 minutes and hardly ever crack a smile. I guess that’s just the perks of being the English summer camp teacher – all of the kids think you’re funny and beautiful and want to be your friend for life.

Yesterday was particularly enjoyable. I felt like the students had fun – they certainly laughed a lot – and I was running on a adrenaline high for the entire morning and afternoon. A few highlights include:

  • My students are fascinated by American music (they have it on their phones) and rap, so when I told them that I could rap, they were amazed and needed proof. I obliged them with a snippet of “My Shot” which was incredibly difficult to remember while standing in front of 20 teenagers staring at you with eyes the size of dinner plates.
  • Reciting the prologue to “The Canterbury Tales” in Middle English to demonstrate how English as a language has evolved. They were even more shocked than my American students are when I say it for them!
  • The student whose English name is Sherlock is, in fact, a fan of “Sherlock” and we talked after class yesterday about Mycroft and Sherlock and Eurus and how the Christmas special was scary and how Eurus was very bad. Hearing those names spoken with a Chinese accent is pretty wonderful.
  • The kids participated in a mini show-and-tell yesterday morning. I told them the day before to bring something from home to class that was special to them, and most of them remembered. There were favorite books, drawings by friends, tiny handmade doll’s clothes, a bottle of traditional medicine, and a keychain from London. It was precious.

So the day itself was quite eventful, and I left class feeling quite good about myself.

In the evening, most of our teacher group decided we had had enough cafeteria food and thus ventured out into Shijizhuang proper to try to find some more authentic cuisine. We ended up at the Wonder Mall (that’s actually its name) and after looking around and marveling at the shops and taking turns riding around the 3rd floor on motorized animals, we found a restaurant that sold hotpot and we sat down for an adventure in cross-cultural dialogue. Not a single server spoke English, which was both what we wanted (after all, it’s “real” Chinese food) and what we feared. Were we ordering lamb, chicken, or monkey? Thankfully, one of the waitresses had a translation app on her phone, and we were able to make shift enough to get a meal going. In the end, it cost us each (with seven people eating) the equivalent of $7.

We have four more days of teaching here, and then we tour Beijing for 2 or 3 days. Afterwards, we’re off to a more rural area to do professional development with local teachers.

One week down, three to go!


2 thoughts on “Rapping “Hamilton” in Shijiazhuang

  1. Wow!! Sounds like your experience has been amazing. So happy to hear that the kids are eager to learn and respectful. I know you will be heading along somewhere new soon. Can’t wait to hear how it goes. I am sure your mom and dad are missing you terribly. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not at all surprised that you rapped Hamilton to the students! This sounds like a wonderful experience, and I’m glad it’s not as scary as you expected. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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