I admit, I was not the best behaved best high school student. I will be remembered for detention slips and making popcorn during chemistry lab more than my grades.
So when I unexpectedly got a message from a teacher in the USA, I thought I was being summoned to the principal’s office.
But it wasn’t from my alma mater, WHS, in Watervliet, Michigan.
It was from a school in South Carolina.
This teacher discovered my name on SKYPE CLASSROOM, which allows teachers around the world to collaborate on projects.
She’s teaching forty students Mandarin who want to practice their language with real Chinese kids.
Her idea blossomed into a language version of eHarmony.com, where each of my students are matched with one of hers. They will practice their language via WeChat.
If you’re not familiar with WeChat, it’s Facebook on steroids. You can instant message, video chat, record messages, send pictures, create user groups, and do instant language translations with a press of your thumb.
But the best feature?
It’s not blocked in China.
Students will most likely share slang and four-letter lingo first (teens will always be teens). But then, they communicate in every language teacher’s nemesis: the emoji.
Really? You want to learn English, but choose to communicate with this mutant penguin:
The most irritating is the cow udder man crashing his head into the screen.
My students work hard and like to have fun. Many have computers like this at home (for gaming, not for conjugating verbs).
Here is a video of my students saying hello to the kids on the flipside, giving them an idea of their language levels.
Can you guess which students were wished upon me by my high school teachers?