1/6/2007 9am Saturday
I am finishing the school visit story. I wanted to include more photos, but these will have to do. I may have sent some earlier. Zoey and BoBo are great company and I have enjoyed all of the time spent with them.
School Visit Part 2
On December 25th I went with Lillian to visit BoBo and Zoey at their school, He Feng Middle (also a high school. He Feng means mild breeze and silent drizzle. I found a Chinese tv transcript on the internet from the school’s renaming ceremony 2 years ago.) The school is in the Town of Doumen. It is called the Town of Doumen because there is a business/shopping center and a school so the whole area is called a town. It is located in the larger area of Doumen, hence "Town of Doumen." (our hotel is in Jiangan, also within Doumen.) Lillian and I took the 609 bus, the same one the girls take and the same one we took to visit the temple and pick strawberries. The school is further away than the temple, but maybe a 20 minute ride including a few stops. The "girls" make this trek once every 2 weeks and are at school having classes and studying Sunday through Saturday all the rest of the time. That’s right, one day off every 2 weeks and the rest they are in school. They wake at 6 am and go to sleep about 11 pm. From about 6:30 till 8 am they read and have individual study. Then they are in class from 8am till 11:30 with a short exercise session squeezed in. From 11:30 ~ 2:30 they eat lunch in the lunch room and then may rest in their dorm. (The dorm is kept locked hours when the students are supposed to be in class.) 2:30 ~5:30 more classes. 5:30~6:30 is dinner. After dinner they study until 11 pm. Everyday, Sunday through Saturday for 15 days straight! During the first 2 hears of high school they had one day each week to go home. Middle school is like our 7th, 8th, and 9th and high school is 10th ~ 12th. Also, the students remain in the same room and teachers move about the school. So in Zoey and BoBo’s class there are mostly girls because boys have chosen to focus on sciences or maths and the girls seem to focus on history and English or Chinese. Like the USA. I asked if they used computers much and was told they had no time because of school work and studying. Every student had mountains of books on his/her desk and most learning is done from these books or from the teachers. There are lots of hard copy periodicals in the library and some books. If a book isn’t available the librarians will try to get it for the students. Both girls and Lillian said that younger grades learned how to use computers, but studying for college entrance exams took most of the high school time. Zoey said that she especially liked her English and Chinese classes and both girls are focusing on history and I think that’s how they met. They do not share a dorm room, but each girl is in a room with at least 9 other girls since rooms have between 10 to 12 students. The students stay at school to avoid wasting travel time. This option is only available to the high school students and lower grades travel home each day. If a student lives close by, they may also go home at night. Students who stay on campus may only leave with special permission and BoBo and Zoey had to have permission to go off campus for lunch and a stroll during our visit. The students wear uniforms; grey track suits. I didn’t think to ask if they liked or disliked that. I think they can pick their shoes because I seemed to notice shoes were different among the students.
During our visit we met the Headmaster Mr. Shun Shong Qing who kindly gave us bottled water and told us to explore where we wished. We also met 2 school librarians Ms Lixian Liang and Mr.Cheng Qin Yu. Through Lillian we were able to talk about their brand new library, dedicated a few days earlier, libraries and life in general. They asked about my life and our planned travel. I told them I knew I was very lucky to be able to do such a thing. I really wish everywhere in the world we all spoke the same language because I wanted to know more about them and their lives, but without lots and lots of time it’s just not always possible. We did all speak "librarian speak" so that made conversation easier. I was sorry when finally we had to leave. But Lillian had to get back because after this busy day she still had to work from 4 pm until midnight!
Another building, after lunch the area was filled with typical teens