It’s Chinese New Year! Well in advance I decorated my classroom with lanterns and colored streamers to make it look festive! For class I prepared many holiday related activities such as having my students make lanterns, ox masks and paper cuttings, sing holiday songs, write Chinese calligraphy, make dumplings out of play dough and then eat the fried dumplings I made. On Monday I made an announcement over the school radio; I spoke about the Chinese New Year and wished everyone the best of luck for the Year of the Ox. Afterwards many students and teachers came to tell me “Ms. Zhao, Happy Chinese New Year!” A fifth grader even came to my classroom to wish me Happy New Year in Chinese!

On Friday our school had a Chinese New Year Parade, all of the teachers wore red and most of the students wore red as well. Students who had Chinese style clothing wore them and everyone looked very festive. The entire school was decorated with arts and crafts that the students made and the school radio even played Chinese holiday music. I was so happy and I think of this parade as a gift to me. The students wore masks, held lanterns, beat drums, and greeted me as they passed. Unfortunately I didn’t think ahead to prepare candy or festive gifts to give to the students who passed me.

U.S.-China Teachers Exchange Program

U.S.-China Teachers Exchange Program

Between 1996 and 2014, the U.S.-China Teachers Exchange Program, established with funding from the Freeman Foundation, sent American K-12 teachers to China and brought Chinese secondary school teachers to the United States. Since the program began, 116 American teachers taught in Chinese secondary schools, and 332 Chinese teachers taught in American elementary, middle, and high schools. The Chinese teachers typically spent a school year teaching Chinese language and culture or English as a second language in American schools across the country.

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