A Day At Siang-He Elementary School
The day begins at 7:30 when the gates open for the students. They arrive on foot, by car, scooter and bikes. All enter with big smiles to friends, classmates and teachers. On Tuesday mornings, the students assemble on the front lawn by class, pledge, salute and sing their anthem. Some announcements are made and recognitions made. On this particular day, a second grader is recognized and awarded a gift for his entry in an art competition. As you can see, he is quite pleased.
Physical fitness plays a very important role in Taiwanese education and twice a week, students and their teachers begin their day with group physical activities. As you can see, the exercises very according to the teacher and their respective class. Some spend time stretching, jogging, running, and even working on their ping-pong skills. This, too, is considered a form of exercise.
The students have eight forty minute classes each day with 10 minutes between classes to enjoy playful fun. This ranges from free play to a quick game of basketball or badminton.
After five morning classes, it’s time for lunch and the older fifth graders serve the younger students within their respective classrooms. Each student brings their own bowl, cup, spoon and chopsticks…nope, no forks or knives.
After eating, each student rinses their bowls and utensils and puts them back into their lunchbags to be taken home. Brushing teeth is the final routine before a few minutes to socialize, then it’s 30 minutes of quiet, rest time. Music is played throughout the campus and everyone takes a quiet rest until afternoon classes commence.
Depending upon the grade level, afternoon classes may be Taiwanese, Chinese, English, math, science, art, music, PE, and more. Some of the students stay until 4:50 p.m. to take additional classes in orchestra, violin, karate, tai ji, Chinese character painting, or even rollerblading.
One of the fourth graders has taken me under his wing to help me with learning Chinese. Most mornings, he meets me and quizzes me on the words he’s given to me so far. At this point, his English is proving to be far better than my Chinese but I definitely intend to do better!