My closure classes for the school year had to be changed from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. It was time for the national CET exams (College English Test) which all English majors must pass to receive their diplomas. Saturday was the CET-4 and Sunday morning was the CET-6, meaning that the school was sealed shut for all classrooms and no one but test takers were allowed anywhere near the buildings.
Thus I moved our last meetings together to Sunday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. for the 1st year English Education majors, 7:30 p.m. for the Practical English and Business Classes, and 8:30 p.m. for all my 2nd year English Education students.
I wasn’t quite sure how they would like being grouped together instead of having their own private class time but as it turned out, our lecture hall’s atmosphere was quite lively and exciting when I entered at 6:30. My 1st year English Education majors didn’t seem to mind being all thrown together and their spirits were high.
Ending the School Year in Style
I love semester closure classes because everyone is happy. We sang a few songs we’d learned during the year, the students opened their Spring Semester Resolution envelopes which they wrote in February and I kept until now, I thanked the monitors (class leaders) with small gifts, gave words of gratitude to all the students for their hard work, went over a few items about the test and handed out the grades.
After that, it was a madhouse of pictures and presents from everyone.
Giving presents to the foreign teacher as a farewell is always something special Chinese students want to do to show their appreciation.
My English Education 111 class put together an album with all their photos in it and wrote little notes of thanks to me under each picture. The English Education 112 class gave me a huge heart box filled with assorted hard candy. (That ended up being eaten by my 2nd year students at 8:30 because some were starving and wanted something to munch on.) My Practical English class likewise gave me candy and individual notes from each person in the class, saying very sweet farewells.
My Business English class went all out and ordered an MP-5 from the Net. That was quite the technical gift! I’ve never owned an MP anything so now I’ll have to figure out how to use it. I can download movies, tons of music and loads of picture on this thing and view everything on a small screen. I have no idea how much an MP-5 costs but it wasn’t that cheap. I’m guessing $30, meaning each person had to chip in at least $1.50 for me.
As for my 2nd year students, they all know me extremely well as we’ve been together for 2 years. Their class gifts were certainly on target. Class 101 gave me a photo album of pictures we’d had together over the past 2 years, as well as photos they have of themselves. Class 102 gave me some lovely earrings (they know my passion for cool, dangling earrings) and a small leather purse etched in phoenixes. And Class 103 chose a beautiful long, ethnic skirt from Guangxi which suited me perfectly. I immediately put it on, removing the skirt I was wearing behind the teacher’s desk, and showed off my new one, along with the gift earrings, purse and photo album, much to the delight of everyone present.
Goodbye, My Students!
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to students at the end of a school year but especially so for these young folk because I will not be seeing them ever again. We have had so many wonderful memories in the classroom and my home. I will truly miss them all.
Here are some of our parting pictures from the evening. And, yes, I know my top doesn’t match that ethnic skirt at all. My viewpoint is if given a gift like that, best to put it on immediately and throw your fashion sense to the winds.
From Longzhou, China, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace).