Willpower

On the table sat a bowl of washed grapes, untouched, and two unopened water bottles were stationed at the bowl’s right and left flanks. A notebook and pen tied with a ribbon sat in my homeroom teacher’s bag, and my former student volunteer, who was helping to translate, sat nearby. We were on a home…

The Importance of Teaching Irrelevant Things

Every English period, I tutor the nine students from my class who have the lowest English scores. A lot of my tutor students ask me why it is important that they learn English. After all, they are Chinese. They live in China. Odds are that a majority of them will live in China, with Chinese-speaking…

再见

In Ashley Zhou’s words: 再见。Zai jian. Goodbye. In Chinese, the translation for “goodbye” is comprised of two characters. Literally, it means “see you again.” I think that’s beautiful. I think it’s also fitting that we sang “再见” for the graduation of our seventh-graders and then Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” for summer camp graduation. Our…

Remembering

Madeline Wilkerson It’s the last night of summer camp. I’ve spent the last few days feeling like I’m in a blitz – do this, do that, get someone to do this, no you can’t run away while everyone is dancing, why aren’t you writing your daily journal, stop ripping each other’s papers to shreds, when…

Until next time

The first time I set foot onto Dandelion’s campus, I was amazed. The pervasive energy, after 26 hours in airplanes and airports, was refreshing. Going into the summer, I didn’t really know what to expect but at that moment, I just felt that it was going to be special. Suitcase in tow, I followed Michelle,…

cynosure

In Ashley Zhou’s words: The familiar melody blares through the school speakers, and almost immediately is joined by the deafening anticipation of students waiting for teachers to finally grant class dismissal. The four students sitting in front of me are no exception. The girl smiles sweetly and looks up at me hopefully through her bangs….

Being A Better Volunteer

Madeline Wilkerson I’ve been at Dandelion for about a month and a half now, and I’ve seen a lot of volunteers come and go. Some of them I’ve really gotten along with, some of them not so much, but honestly that doesn’t matter. Seeing other volunteers at the school besides myself, working with the kids…

Going Deeper

Madeline Wilkerson Today was my home visit. It came up sporadically; I was informed of the home visit approximately 30 minutes before we left. Regardless, I was excited to be able to interact with the parents of one of my children. We walked a bit down a street I’d not ventured down many times before,…

Insight

Thoughts from Kat: My water bottle broke. The inner layer of glass parted from the protective exterior, and I was left with two, jagged glass cylinders. I examined the fissure––sharp edges that would too easily slit a lip or a finger—and artfully concluded, Well, shit. I turned to my homeroom teacher and asked, “Is there…

Teaching the Teacher

“Okay, class is done.” No reaction. “Class has ended. The end.” I make a chopping movement with my hands. Still no reaction. I point to the clock. “Class is finished.” Still, 39 faces peer blankly back at me. “Class is over,” I try again. As if by magic, the students collectively murmur out “OH”s. This…

elision

In Ashley Zhou’s words: He’s a quiet boy. Tall, sixteen years old and almost a man among a class of twelve-, thirteen-, fourteen-year-olds who bustle about, vibrating with repressed energy and noise. His mother sighs. He’s been quiet a long time now, she tells me. He didn’t always used to be this way. When he…

A Teacher and Her Ability to Defy Entropy

When I first arrived at Dandelion and met my homeroom teacher, she laughed with delight and gave me a hug. I remember the excitement that I felt when I saw her broad smile, and my worries that I would have difficulties with my teacher slowly began to melt away. However, new worries arose when I…