Service Learning Reflection
Our Service Learning partner is Mr. Zhang, his Chinese name is 张雄武 (Zhang Xiong Wu). Mr. Zhang is currently 79 years old and has taught middle school students for 40 to 50 years. He now owns a China Mobile store near Sifang Jie. He has four children, one son and three daughters, all of his children live in Xia Guan now.
What I learned about my elder was that when life gets tough, work through it, because at the end, Mr. Zhang got his reward. He is rewarded with a lovely home, four wonderful children, and a comfortable and happy life. I learned that we should not complain about our lives, because he sure did not, and there was a lot to complain about back then. He did not complain about the past, and he did not say things like, "if I could go back, I would do this differently and do that differently." He thinks that that is all in the past now, and all we can do now, is look back a remember those times.
I learned a lot of history in Xizhou, and that a lot of elders did not have their voices heard. Their story, as boring as it seems to them, are actually quite fascinating, and I really cannot believe they lived through those important historical time periods. They have done so much for the community, in Mr. Zhang's case, he has been educating and passing down his knowledge to our generation. He has been contributing to society, even when society tells him that his profession is not as important as some others. Even when being a teacher meant leaving Xizhou behind and going up to the mountains, where there are no familiar faces, and the village there is undeveloped, he still taught because he had a passion for teaching. I also learned that in the bad, there are always some of the good.
I learned how hard it is to live in the 20th Century Chinese history. In classrooms back in Shanghai, we read all of these books, and we hear all of these stories in the textbooks and we all see the movies, but nothing like the movies can compare to real life experience. To see someone in front of me who has actually lived through this, to be my age when this was all happening, to hear their story, that was really interesting and fascinating. The fact that they never gave up, and kept on living, and now, they are all living comfortable and happy lives.
Some of my recommendations to future Microcampus students would be to find your Service Learning partner early, and every time you film some of the footage, put it in the iMovie and do some of the work then, because it's always better to start early and finish early, than to start late and panic about it later. Have fun, really try to connect with some of the Service Learning partners, do not just get to know them because it is part of our project, because all of them have a lot to say.