It’s done. All 11 plays (the student’s take on Romeo and Juliet) have been completed and performed. I went ahead with an “awards” show on the day following the presentations.
No one play was a disaster. The only requirement was the play should be at least 4 minutes and everyone should memorize their lines. One play fell short on time (it was about 80 seconds), and most people had their lines down.
It was quite funny and we had some real hams that were great at it. They were overly melodramatic and they didn’t laugh at themselves. In fact one girl told me to stop laughing while she was performing. She was the best by far.
After all the plays were done I had ballots ready to vote for the 4 awards which were best actor, best actress, best directing, and best play. It’s interesting to see how some people vote. Some vote for everything in their group regardless of how bad they were. Some vote for their friends. And some vote for the students who they “think” should win because they are the best students. But sometimes the best students don’t do the best job. Shujie insisted I do some fiddling with the final results and I wasn’t comfortable doing that. But after careful consideration and because the votes were close, I admit I changed a couple. My reasons were that the ones Shujie and I thought were best should have won, and if I made them the winner it would mean more to them than a good student just having another feather in her cap.
One group got a late start because their leader screwed up in not organizing them. She had other commitments and didn’t tell me. She is one of my favourite students so I was a touch disappointed. She sent me an email that read like this (unedited), “Martin I really feel sorry about the script, i know it is all my fault that i did not try my best to finish it,i hope you can forgive me but it seems impossible,i felt so sad and my heart into pieces ,when i saw your email ,i know you have the same feelin”. It’s kind of cut off since it was sent from her phone which only allows her x number of characters. I wouldn’t say it was “all her fault” and I wrote her back a rather lengthy email (which I am prone to doing) since I am fond of her and respect her. She replied to my email with this.
“Martin: I don’t know how to describe my mood at this moment.i have seen your email(the longest email i received before) i felt so touching that i was cried . thanks for your forgive me and accepted my apology.i am very appreciate.
I have many words to tell you. deep in my heart at first i think you are one of the most important teacher and have a great influence for me. i learned a lot from no matter what your email or class . i really respect and like you as you like me .”
It was nice and I was touched. I know she likes me a lot, but what’s really cool about it is that it is the love of a friend and not a student sucking up to a teacher, or trying to hustle a teacher. Here is a picture of my favourite Mandy:
Shujie did pictures and videos of the plays and did a pretty good job. And you get to see them. You have to listen carefully since the English accents can be difficult. Here are a few of the videos: coming from the different plays. I’d watch them all because they are damn fine and that’s my unbiased opinion.
Romeo and Juliet meet:
Juliet lets Romeo (in prison) know he will be a father:
Rosaline tries to pass by:
Romeo and Juliet dancing:
Romeo brushes off Rosaline:
Juliet wakes up from suicide with Romeo there:
Rosaline takes a knife meant for Romeo:
Juliet has fixed herself up for Romeo (lost weight and wearing a sign that says “G Cup” so everyone will know about her surgery.
Edison and Alice meet (Romeo and Juliet):
Edison and Alice (Romeo and Juliet) run away and throw themselves off a cliff. I think they become birds after.
Dancing at a party:
The best actor speech for one of the classes. I was quite touched.
Winner of best director for one class:
Here are some pictures:
A student dressed as a Priest. You can tell by the big cross.
Romeo and Juliet drink:
Romeo and Juliet drinking:
Romeo and Juliet meet:
Romeo finds out Juliet is going to have his baby:
Estella with award standing with Wang Jing.
Girls from one class with me:
Boys from one class with me:
4 girls from other class with me:
Wang Jing came to the 2nd awards show and was shocked that the students could do such things. The fact is that in Chinese classes they don’t get the opportunity to work on their own or interact much with the teacher. The teacher talks, the students listen, the students leave. She said it was a real eye-opener for her and she may start doing things like this. It’s a great idea. The student’s loved doing it, and they loved having some responsibility (although a couple abused it). I’d say overall it was a big success.
My problem now is there about 4 weeks of classes to go. What do I do? I’ve asked the students to come in with ideas next week about some things that might interest them. I don’t expect to get any suggestions so it will be the same old, same old. I probably peaked too early by using this. I’d like to do something similar but I can’t do plays again. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
I’m glad it’s done and I’m sad it’s done. Overall I think it was a good experience for all concerned. What is the nicest thing about being the “English teacher” is that I just don’t teach English (if I even do that). It’s that I expose them to different ways of thinking and I treat them as adults (even if they are kids). I never put them down (what’s the point) and I try and make them relax. Some have taken advantage (in a good way) of this method, while others are too stupid to live and there is nothing I can do about it.
When you first start teaching (and I’ve come to this late in life) you hope you can make a difference in everyone’s life. Then reality seeps in and you think, “maybe I can make a difference in 10 lives”. The reality is that for every single student you have touched with a new way of thinking and doing things, it’s a bonus. Using that as my criteria, I think I’ve been a success. I know I will be forgotten but maybe a couple of things they’ve learned about how to think and behave will stick with them. Then I’m happy.