Teaching in Nanjing
A big part of our trip to Nanjing was the community service component. We visited three different centers to teach and interact with Chinese students from many different backgrounds and places in life.
Our first teaching opportunity was at a rural primary school outside of Nanjing. We split into groups and taught fifth graders English using topics such as animals, daily routines, and transportation etc. My group worked on teaching body parts through games and songs such as Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as well as the Hokey Pokey. During the lunch period we each went to visit a students home and lunch with them and their families. It was a really great experience and it was fun getting to get to know students better and learn a little bit of the Nanjing dialect while talking with their parents and grandparents.
Our second and third volunteer days were at two centers that help students with severe mental disabilities as well as their families. These centers work to help these students learn communication skills. We came to give the students an opportunity to interact with a new culture. We held some sing-a-longs, played games, and drew pictures together at both centers. These centers seem to be very unique. Both are run by a Catholic organization and appear to be completely volunteer based. Mental illness is a subject that often isn't acknowledged in China and it is great to see an active community trying to bring awareness and help many families.