Saturday, March 27, 2010

First Meeting: English Club for Knitters

"Play is the work of children." -Dr. Spock

The last time I lived in China, I was 12 years old and was one of the oldest kids amongst the English speaking children in an expatriate village in the middle of nowhere in Guangzhou Province. I would ride my bike to little hole in the wall shops and buy the most terrible candy that had been sitting on the self for years, bubble gum that would break your jaws, and milk candy covered with rice paper. Then I would organize activities for all of the English speaking kids with candy as prizes. I organized an Easter egg hunt with terrible fake chocolate. I organized games, competitions and weekly picnics. Even got a bunch of them together to re-enact my rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I was a 12 year old day camp director clipboard included.

I should have paid attention to my playtime as a child. It could have shown me that maybe chemistry wasn't the right path but rather being a kid youth camp counselor or being a leadership workshop director, team building seminar leader, or a training organizer was a better career for me.

Ten freshmen showed up at the designated meeting place and then we proceeded to my apartment. We spent an hour and half in the first meeting of English Club for Knitters. We played team building balloon games filling the tiny apartment with laughter, stomping and jumping around as we tried to juggle 20 balloons in the air. I wonder if the neighbors were annoyed hopefully more curious than irritated. In this dry weather my hair will not lie flat, so balloons flew upward attracted to the ceiling, their final resting place ending the fun and games.

The girls were all leaders and took initiative. Teams of two quickly and without hesitation volunteered to be treasurer, secretary, communication director, and snack committee. We made a list of English topics to discuss, other activities we want to do, and projects we want to knit. We decorated a notebook with pictures of knitted goods and filled it with the minutes of the meeting along with a ledger of money spent. While I was in the kitchen making tea, I could hear the students shouting English debating when and where we should meet and then heard them vote on it. We ended the meeting with an animated short, "The Last Knit."

My strength is not as a classroom teacher but as an organizer of people into communities that together learn, create, have fun, and grow as individuals. I have been doing it since I was 12.

1 comment:

Lisa R-R said...

I like the idea of English Club for Knitters, complete with snack committee.
Sounds like it will be a lot of fun!