On Wednesday afternoon, Dec 19th, Noam and Ewa were riding bikes on the road as usual. They were going to Longlian Community to meet some lovely children.
“Yes, I can do it” is an English Corner which is held by Longlian community and Nanyan Youth Volunteers Association of Peking University each Wednesday. The children are from nearby primary schools, and most of them are in Grade 1 to 3. As foreign teachers, the responsibility of Noam and Ewa is providing kids with an immersive English environment to cultivate their interest in English and offer plenty of opportunities for children to speak.
This was the last time for Noam and Ewa to go to the English Corner this term. They taught all the children to sing a classical English song – You Are My Sunshine. At 17:00, the English class began. The volunteers had already printed out the lyrics and translation and handed it out to everyone. When the beautiful melody echoed in the activity room, all the children calmed down and listened to the song. The English sentences in this song were a little difficult for children of such ages, so first, Ewa and Noam called on all the students to read the sentences with them together. Seeing it was hard for most of the children to understand the words, our Chinese volunteer Peter explained the lyrics for kids sentence by sentence.
“This song compares love to sunshine. Each of us have people we deeply love, and they love us too, just like our friends and parents,” Peter said in Chinese. “If there is no love, our lives will be lackluster such as a gray sky. Love brings us light and hope like sunshine coming into our lives. When we are home, mum and dad love us very much, but they don’t have to say ‘I love you’ to us every day. And we also have little opportunity to express our love to parents. So when you go home tonight after class, you can sing this song to parents and tell them you love them very much.”
After Peter’s explanation, the children were more familiar with the lyrics. Next, Noam and Ewa went to the desks to sing the song with students line by line. Immediately, the room was full of singing voices. It was difficult for some children to pronounce each word well so Noam and Ewa helped them patiently. With the help of the two lovely teachers, the progress the children were making was obvious.
After practicing for about a half an hour, Ewa and Noam encouraged students to come to the stage and sing before all their classmates. Several kids were singing well but lacked the courage to stand up. However, some students bravely sang in the front of the whole class. Our volunteers had already prepared candies for the kids who could sing this song on the stage as an award for their courage. With the encouragement of classmates, volunteers, and teachers, most of the children finished this “task” and got delicious candies.
“This activity has been successfully promoted for one semester with the collaboration and support of the Longlian community,” said Wu Tong, a volunteer from School of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Peking University. “During this semester, the teachers and the members of the volunteer association have established a profound friendship with the children in the community. We were not only teaching English but also learning English. Meanwhile, we also earned sincere friendship. In the next semester, we will continue our work to help the children in the community to learn English and exercise oral expression skills. We always welcome more enthusiastic volunteers to join the Youth League Longlian English Corner
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away…
Such a beautiful song just like a poem. We hope these beautiful sentences are able to stay in the childrens’ hearts, bring sunshine to their world, and make them understand the value of the people who love them deeply.
Written by Zhang Wendou
Photos by Zhang Wendou