What I Discovered by Teaching in Zhengzhou

Published by Cher Bear Scientifica — one year ago

Blog: The Heart of China
Tags: General

                                     A Once in a Lifetime Travel Experince

                 Never did I think I would learn so much about China by teaching there for one year.  But I did, and then some.  In the short 8 months I was there I would travel from Zhengzhou, which is in Henan province, on week-ends excursions to visit nearby tourist attractions and places of interest.  Usually I went with other teachers and/or co-workers from the experimental high school I was working at, Henan Experimental High School, to see attractions on the week-ends. 

               We went to the Grottoes of Luogangj, Henan, China, where we saw the larget Buddah grotto in the world.  It was phenonmenal.  As with everything magnificent there are drawbacks.  I would not recommend anyone with compromised health to visit this part of China, or many other parts, for that fact.  The reason is that the air pollution can be severe and consists of chemicals, carbon from coal buring and much more.  Seventy percent of China's electricity comes from coal-burning energy plants.  So you rarely see the sun completely, or the moon, for that matter.

                     China experiences a type of air pollution that can affect a person's health quickly and so even though the magnificent places I am about to show you are awe-inspiring, anyone planning to visit them should get a clearance from their health professional first.  

                    One week-end we traveled by bus to Ji Yuan, a small and beautiful village in the middle of a nearby mountain range.  We were asked to observe a students in a school and give our opinion about an age old method of doing math problems.  

                About 30 students would be given a math problem that was written on a board.  The students were about 10 years old and they could configure the answers to math problems using only their fingers and a special code that was developed for using fingers to solve math problems hundreds of years ago.  Most of the math problems were complicated high school algebra problems.  These students were amazing.  

             Not only could they do high school math problems in seconds but they prepared a picnic for us which took place near a river in the Tae Hang mountains and cooked everything themselves.  It was delicious.  

                   You see, these students lived at the school.  In China, many of the schools are like this.  The students come from so far away that they live at their schools during the week and go  home to visit their families on the week-ends.  

                  The school I worked at was also like this.  The students lived there and sometimes went home on the week-ends.  It was a huge campus and there was a dormitory there for them.  I taught twelfth grade college preparatory English.  

                      There were many week-end excursions but one of the most memorable ones was the trip to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an.  I hadn't even heard of them before and so I was so extremely excited to get the chance to see them.  

                      I went on the week-end with a group of teachers and we were able to not only see the standing rows of terracotta figurines that were first discovered in the 1970's, but we were also able to see the people at the museum repairing and restoring the other, newly found figurines. 

                         Altogether this one year will be a time in my life I will never forget.  I am so happy and proud of having gone there, and could have stayed longer but the air pollution is so severe I began to develop asthma.

                            I would still, however, suggest China as a place for anyone who wishes to travel and learn about ancient history as a great place to teach or visit, if only for awhile.



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