Monday, September 10, 2012

10 September 2012 -- Journal Log

Scooter's Journal Log
Earth Date 10 September 2012

10 September 2012 is National Teacher Appreciation Day in 中國 / Zhōngguó
arrived at school to many decorations and cards • found a wonderful laminated celebration card on my desk which on one side lists all of the kinds of teachers and on the other thanks all teachers for their service to the profession and the education of the children • also on my desk I received three very special moon cakes (one of the most rare and special of the Chinese pastry-style delicacies: one cherry, one blackberry, and one with sweet nuts) • kid after kid arrived with carnations and gifts across the spectrum including such things as special chop sticks to porcelain wireless mice for your lap top • also many cards were dropped off on desks • it was pretty amazing • in class, the students all stood and thank the teachers – many gave hugs and high fives all with most sincere gratitude • this day is very overwhelming for teachers as it is the entire country's way of thanking the people who have committed their lives to educating children which, due to the wonderful life of the great teacher of 中國 / Zhōngguó, Confucius, are respected as much or more than physicians, attorneys, and rich business men • it is an incredible feeling and outpouring of adoration from a nation to those who empower their children who, in turn, grow up to empower their nation – I hope it will be well received by my readers in the USA, but this is just one of the many areas from which we can learn from the Chinese.

went to lunch with 大 Jarrod • went to the Serendipity Café with Derrick and Phil for our free teachers day hot beverage • picked up my ironed shirts during my personal time

Serendipity Café
Three years ago, an entrepreneurial young student got the idea to start up a full-fledged coffee house on campus. After much searching and much expenditure of favors, no doubt, she founded what was called Café La Ren – sort of a pun of a name as Ren means people in Chinese. She organized her classmates and got a wonderful space on campus. I was invited by two 11th grade students in my Honors AP Biology class to come for a free drink in honor of teachers day at the pre-opening of what was now to be called the Serendipity Café La Ren since my students were so enchanted by the new word I had taught them in class, "serendipity" when I was teaching them about how most of the world's greatest scientific discoveries have been made. Derick and Phil were also invited, so we went over together. There are so many amazing things to describe about this café, I barely know where to begin. First, it is located in the underground world of the campus of BNDS which, until this day, I had not known existed. It is sort of like being a muggle and stumbling across "Diagon Alley" in the Harry Potter world. The entrances are all over campus and are made of glass. So, for this reason, they are sort of invisible to the untrained eye. Heading down the stone stairs into the bowels of the campus gave me a bit of nervous apprehension. Yet at the bottom of the stairs a whole enchanted world opened up. There was a room that closely resembled the Harvard club in NYC. This, we were told by our guide, Loise, was the VIP room reserved for teachers and honored guests. There were wonderful chairs, sofas, coffee tables, dining tables, and board games. All it lacked was a fireplace with crackling logs. Our barista, Shirley, took our orders while Loise instructed us to make informational posters to help advertise the café along with our own testimonials. The café has its own professional espresso machine and equipment that would make the average Starbucks® envious. Moments later, we were treated to exceptional hot beverages. I ordered, of course, hot chocolate. It was divine. The other two had high end coffees like machiatto and some such things. We then traveled out to see where the non-VIPs would sit and found they had their own antechamber connected to the huge underground bookstore I never even knew existed. So, now a bit more about the café. So, the proceeds from the Café all go to the student scholarship fund. It is entirely run by students who are learning in a practical sense everything you need to know to run a business in China. There is no faculty advisor or sponsor. Therefore, the results and successes are entirely their own. I was pretty impressed by their operation.

National Teacher Appreciation Day – The Banquet
After school, the entire faculty of BNDS International Department migrated by bus, bike, or taxi to a wonderful restaurant located to the west of school towards the mountains. There, in the spectacular banquet hall located on the second floor, we were organized into tables mixing up people from different programs and disciplines. Our Deputy Principal, Mrs. Betty Wu, made a speech thanking us all for dedicating our lives to teaching and the education of the children. She toasted to us and then she spent the rest of the evening circulating from table to table making sure each teacher was thanked personally by her. It was a rare and meaningful experience of gratitude from a school leader who really made us feel valued. The dinner was an impressive many course meal with dish after exquisite dish being placed on the rotating platform in the center of each table. Each item had been chosen for the occasion many to signify the diversity of those in attendance with regional dishes from all over the country as well as some cross-cultural forays. My favorite of the latter of these was a dish decorated with Pringles® potato crisps. At the end, we all felt warm, welcome, appreciated, and satisfied before we returned home to prepare for our next day of classes.

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