Trig and Chemistry

I taught for the first time the other day. A lesson that I thought would take at least twenty minutes took maybe five. And I was talking slow! There's some things I realized I need to add, revisit and think about some more before I decide to teach that lesson again. If I want to give Maggie's students a true vision of what life as an American high schooler is, then I need to be more detailed.

The other day, while in one of the Junior 3's classrooms I noticeed a board which I guessed to be a no-name board. Most of it was jibberish as all Chinese except the word for 'exit' is. And then I noticed something eerily familiar. AlSo3 I think was what it was. And then with an excited squeak, I looked to Maggie, "It's Chemistry!"

Naturally, Maggie's students found it amusing that I figured out it was Chemistry. What? I'm a senior in high school - I should be able to recognize a chemical reaction formula! That being said, I couldn't tell what type of reaction because above the arrows where it normally tells the energy or what have you, it was written in Chinese.

These Junior 3's are the equivalent of freshman - 14 years old - and they are all taking full-blown Chemistry! I took Chemistry as a freshman but I was by people who were juniors.

Then, walking past a classroom on the senior campus (where we live) I saw a very, very familiar math equation on the screen. They were simplifying trigometric functions. Again with the amazing-ness! I took Trigonometry as a junior and there are quite a few people in my high school that will never take it.

I find it amazing how when I came to China I felt like I was slightly better than my sister's Chinese students because I a) knew English and b) had more money. It was a subconscious thing. But every day these kids amaze me. They are so intelligent. I won't say they are more intelligent than Americans because they have trouble with creativity.

They don't have any "creative" classes - yearbook, newspaper, sculpture (art although generally the students, it seems, don't take it). My sister says that they are not allowed to major in fun things either. They are amazed when they found out that I am going to major in Creative Writing and History. That is just beyond them.

And yet, they are so smart. They have a passion and an eagerness for learning that surprises me constantly. It's a great feeling to know that you can still be taught something even when you aren't expecting to learn.

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