All Buddha, Bodhisattva, Venerable Master, all Dharma Masters, and all good wise advisors, Amitabha! It is Meilin’s turn to tie Dharma affinity with assembly. If I said something not according to Dharma, please kindly correct me.
Today, I would like to share some experiences and thoughts from my second year teaching at BoysSchool. I teach 2nd and third grade Chinese atBoysSchool. This year when I came back fromTaiwan, my students were very happy to see me; they rushed to me and gave me a big hug. I was happy but also worry, and wondering how long they will behave, and next, how I am going to teach them Chinese.
除了教他們課本，我教他們唱中文兒歌，讓他們對學習中文更有興趣。我挑了一首歌，歌名是「媽媽的眼睛」。因為那時母親節快到了，我要他們學會後，唱給他們的媽媽聽。他們也很想學，但我一放音樂，他們全給我一個他們要昏倒的表情，有一個還躺在地上，讓我滿頭霧水？ 我想這首歌，歌詞簡單，曲調也很好聽，有什麼不對？ 好不容易要他們學一遍。下課後，我的一個學生問我「老師，我們明天要做什麼？」我說：「我還不知道，你們又不喜歡唱歌。」 我這個學生終於講實話，他說：「老師，那首歌還好啦！但是，是給女孩子唱的。」我終於恍然大悟，原來那首歌對他們來說太輕柔，他們要節奏快的，我如果教他們成龍的歌，他們會很喜歡，但我一首也不會。還有，他們覺得他們是大男孩了，要他們唱輕柔的歌給媽媽聽，他們很不好意思。 我後來一想，他們才八歲就不想唱兒歌給媽媽聽，可是將來也許十幾二十歲就去唱情歌給女朋友聽，我決定無論如何一定要他們學會那首歌。
Except teaching them by text book, I teach them to sing Chinese songs to make them have more interests to learn Chinese. I choose a song and its title is “Mom’s eyes”. Since Mother’s Day was approaching, I want them to learn and sing this song to their mothers. At first, my students were eager to learn. But, as soon as I play the song, they all give me an expression that they are going to pass out. One of them even lay down on floor. I feel so confused. I think the lyrics are simple and the melody is good. What is wrong with the song? I difficultly taught them to sing this song once. After the class, one of my students asked me “Teacher! What we are going to learn tomorrow?” I replied “I don’t know yet, you guys don’t like to sing the song”. And, he said “Teacher! I think the song is “OK”! But, it is for girls.” Ah! Ha! I finally got it! The song is too soft to them. They want to learn songs with quick pace. If I teach them Jackie Chen’s songs, they are going to like it. But, I know none of Jackie Chen’s songs. Furthermore, they think they are big boys now. They feel embarrassed to sing a soft song to their mothers. I think they are just eight years old, and they do not want to sing a children’s song to their mothers, but in the future, they might sing a love song to their girl friends in their twenties. I decided to force them to learn this song no matter what.
Later on, I found out they like the song and sing it well. I was almost fooled by them! Especially, one of my students whose parents just got divorced he lives with his father. Though, his father takes good care of him, he still miss his mom very much. He always asks me to let him sing the song, and he is the best singer. He makes me feel ache in my heart. He said he cannot sing this song to his mom on the Mother’s day. I told him that he can sing this song to his dad, because his dad takes care of him like his mother. He just needs to change the word of “Mom” to “Dad” in the song. He happily accepted my suggestion and become more delightful. This student studies hard and very considerate, but sometimes in bad mood and does not want to learn anything. I did not know why until later on his core teacher told me he constantly has this kind of problems after his parents got divorced. I feel sorry for him that at this young age, he already needs to deal this kind of emotion problem. A lots of children’s behavioral problems come from families. The family structure of modern day becomes complicated. There are lots of single families or parents who got divorced and re-married again. Children have to face complicated relationships. No wonder Venerable Master said “there are no problem children, only problem parents”. Being a teacher, what I can do is caring and encouraging him.
The lyrics of this song are:”In the beautiful, beautiful sky, here comes out the bright little stars, it looks like my mom’s kind and lovely eyes.” When I was teaching my students this song, suddenly, the verse in the Universal Door Chapter e “Complete with all merit and virtue, His kind eyes watching living beings,” jumps out of my mine. I finally totally understand that mother is the transformation body of Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. Mother has thousands eyes and thousands hands like Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. It also answers my question I always have, when last year I went back to take care of my mom. I didn’t understand how come my mom can take care of us- six children. And, now, she got sick. We, four siblings, take care of her one person, but feel so difficult and tired. The reason is mother has thousands hands and thousand eyes. We, four siblings, just got eight hands and eight eyes. But, the most important is mother always has no self. Even she got sick; she still wants to take care of us. Once, I was busy cleaning a room and forgot it already passed time for cooking. At that time, my mom still could get out of bed by herself. She walked to kitchen with her stick and wanted to cook. I found out and asked her if she is hungry. She answered me:” I am not hungry, but it is time for your brother to come home and have dinner” And, there was time, before Chinese New Year, I was busy at kitchen, and she came out of her room and wanted to help me, because before we always cooked together. After I guarantied her that I will be fine and insisted she needs to rest, she finally went back to her room. But, when we take care of her, we cannot be no self, and always insist our own point of view.
我以前不知道有媽媽叮嚀、照顧是多麼幸福。早上我起床時，她總是要我加穿衣服，我老是回答：「我不冷！」。我出門搭公車，她會叮嚀我準備零錢。我搭公車去我沒去過的地方，她會很詳細地告訴我怎麼走，甚至打手機確定我到達目的地，沒走丟。對於這一切叮嚀，我常在心裡嘀咕：「怎麼老是把我當小孩！」 那時，「我慢」蒙蔽了我，讓我不知道我是一個多麼幸福的大小孩！直到她病倒。早上，換我老是要她加衣服，她也是老回答我說：「我不冷！」。她記憶力變不好，所以重要的事，為了確定她記得，我前天告訴她一次，昨天告訴她一次，今天再告訴她一次，還問她：「記住了嗎？」她居然用青少年的口氣回我說：「好啦！好啦！知道了！婆婆媽媽！」 我頓時了解我們角色已經互易了。現在，換成我照顧她，我才知道我比她還囉嗦。
I did not understand how blessed I was, that I had my mother to care and remind me. In the morning, when I get up, my mom always wants me to put on my jacket; my answer always is “I am not cold!” When I want to take bus, she always reminds me if I have changes. When I want to take bus to a place I have never been to, she always gives me detail directions, even calls my cell phone to make sure I arrive and did not get lost. To all these caring, I always grumbled how come my mom treats me like a child! At that time, “arrogance” blocked my view to let me see how I was a blessed big child! Until my mom got sick, in the morning, it becomes my turn to tell her put on jacket, and she always answered me “I am not cold!” Her memory becomes poor. In order to make sure she remembers important things, I told her the day before yesterday, and yesterday, and one more time in today, and even asked her again if she remember. Out of my surprise, she answered me with a tone like a teenager, and said”OK! OK! I got it! You are so nagging!” Suddenly, I realized we already swapped our roles. Now, it is my turn to take care of her, and I find out I am more nagging than her.
我曾經替我學生準備一張小卡片，卡片上用中文寫「爸爸、媽媽，謝謝！」這幾個我教過的中文字，要他們回家用中文對他們父母說謝謝。但從照顧我媽媽過程中，我了解言教不如身教。 我問我姪女：「將來假如你媽媽生病，你會照顧她嗎？」 她很肯定的說：「會！」， 我繼續問她：「那你要如何照顧她？」她說要她如何如何照顧她媽媽，結果她所說的，就是我姊姊、妹妹現在做的。
I have prepared a card for my students, with Chinese words say “Mom and dad, thank you!” these words I have taught my students. I wanted my students bring home and say to their parents in Chinese. But, from the process of caring my mom, I realized that showing children by what you do is better than teaching them by what you say. I tested my niece by asking her in the future if her mom got sick, she will take care of her or not. She answered me with a firm tone and says “Yes!” I continued asking her how she will take care of her mom. What my niece said is exactly how my sisters take care of my mom right now.
When we push out my mom to take a walk with wheel chair, our neighbors always said:” It is good that your mom has you to take care of her!” Later on, I realize that actually it is us who are blessed that we still have mom to take care of. At that time, my mom still can walk by herself. Accompanying her to take a walk becomes a beautiful memory. When I went to Buddha Roots Farm, Dharma Master Sure asked us a question that what is the best gift you ever received. I think a while and said I still have mom I can take care of is the best gift I received. Though, we cannot do lots of things together anymore. We even cannot have conversation over the phone.
我這學期教二年級中文。我的學生都很可愛，但也很頑皮。有一個很愛哭，作業答錯幾題，他就心情不好。還有一個很會耍寶，但你千萬不能笑，否則他耍得更起勁，讓你沒辦法上課。教他們中文很不容易，除了程度不一，不好教。他們愛講話，還有覺的中文很難，也是不好教的因素。所以要有耐性，方法、還有很多體力。我三年級那班喜歡寫中文字，也寫得很好。而我二年級這一班卻不喜歡寫字，可能與年齡有關。有一個學生，我每次要他寫字時就開始哀嚎：「 好難喔！好難喔！」我想到我一個侄子也是這樣。我媽媽就握著他的手，一筆一筆地教他。我就學我媽媽，握著我學生的手，一筆一筆地教他們。果然，他們就願意寫字了。 另外，我也在白板上用不同顏色來表示筆順。他們這些新人類最喜歡的，還是在我的IPAD 上練習筆順，還為此爭執誰先誰後。我就要他們再簿子上寫一行，才讓他們在我的IPAD上練習。我用這些方法讓這些不喜歡寫字的新人類寫字。尤其，當他們問我：「老師！你能不能教我們用中文寫〝佛〞這個字？」時，我簡直心花怒放！
This semester I teach second grade Chinese. My students are very cute but naughty. One of them is easy to get emotional if he has few wrong answers in his homework, and one is like to show off. But, it is better for you not to laugh; otherwise, he will show off harder and disturb your class and make you unable to teach. It is not easy to teach them Chinese; except they have different abilities, one of the reasons is they love to talk, and they feel Chinese is difficult. So, to teach them, you need to have patience, methods, and a lot of energies. My third grade students love to write Chinese, and write very well. But, my second grades, at first, do not like to write. I think it is related to age. One of my students always starts crying “It is hard! It is so hard!”, every time when I ask him to practice writing. It reminds me that one of my nephews was exactly like him, and my mom just held his hand and taught him to write one stroke by one stroke. I learned from my mom, and hold my students hands and teach them to write one stroke by one stroke. Really, they become more willing to write. Besides, I use different colors to write on the board to show them the order of stroke. They who are the new generation like best is to practice the order of stroke on my IPAD, and even fight who will be the first. So, I insist they need to write on practicing book one line, then, I will let them practice on my IPAD. I use these methods to make these new generation kids who don’t like to write to write. Especially, when they ask me “Teacher! Can you show us how to write “Buddha” in Chinese? I am so happy!”
開學前，我就在想這學期要如何改進。「教不嚴，師之惰」，所以要給他們作業，還要給他們小考。另外，我也要裝嚴肅一點。但兩個禮拜後，我發覺他們一點都不怕我。有一個學生，我要罰他time out，居然跟我說〝No！〞。雖然我不喜歡處罰小孩，但為了糾正他們的行為，只好狠下心來執行。但也要給他們獎勵，我給他們貼紙、鉛筆，橡皮擦等作為獎勵。口頭的讚美也是很好的鼓勵。我會在他們的作業上寫些獎勵的話，比如：excellent, wow, perfect之類的話，再貼上一張笑臉的貼紙。另外，我自己設計、製作一些中文遊戲，透過遊戲，他們對中文字的印象特別深刻。有時，教學效果更好。但遊戲有一個很大的缺點，就是他們會很興奮，有時會失控。我花很多力氣在克服秩序。有一次，我很久沒讓他們玩中文遊戲。那天，他們很認真，為了獎勵他們，我讓他們玩我設計的中文大富翁。結果，我的班級變得像一個失控的馬戲團。有地上爬的，有尖叫的，有追來追去的。下課前，我忍不住罵他們，也許我罵得不夠大聲，他們的導師走進來，獅子大吼地幫我罵了好幾句。那天，下課後，我很沮喪，我也很想大聲哀嚎：「教你們這些小頑童中文，好難喔！好難喔！」。
Before the school started, I was thinking how to improve my teaching. Since “Teach lax, lazy teacher”, I decide to give them more home works and quiz. Besides, I need to be stricter. But, two weeks later, I found out they are not afraid of me at all. One of my students even told me “No!” when I want to give him time out. Though, punishing children is the last thing I want to do, in order to correct their behaviors, I cannot but do it. But, I give rewards too. I give them stickers, pencils, and erasers as rewards. I also write some encouraging words on their home works, such as “perfect”, “excellent”, and “Wow” on their home works and give them a smiling face sticker. Furthermore, I design and make some Chinese games. Through games, they have deeper impression about Chinese letters, and sometimes the result of teaching is better. But, the short coming of the game is they will become very exciting; sometimes, it will become out of control. I have to spend a lot of energy to control the order of the class. There was once that I have not let them play games for a long time. That day they studied hard; in order to reward them, I let them play my Chinese monopoly. But, my class became like an out of control circus. There was one crawling on the floor, and there was one screaming, and there were two chasing each other. I could not but scolded my student at the end of the class. Maybe I did not scold them loudly enough. Their core teacher came in and scolded them like a lion roar for me. I felt so depressed that day after the class, and I wanted to loudly cry “Teaching you naughty boys Chinese is so hard! It is so hard!”
我的學生有時很頑皮，還會欺負老師。我叫他們寫字，他們就叫我幫他們削鉛筆。剛開始，我像觀世音菩薩一樣，有求必應。後來發覺他們拼命從抽屜找出更多鉛筆來給我削。有一個學生甘脆把整盒的鉛筆遞給我，還用大大的眼睛看著我。我就說我只幫每個人削一支鉛筆。他們還有一個本事，那就是把一個老師變成一隻老虎。最近，有一天，我和我同修通電話。他是個有經驗的老師，他問起我的寶貝學生。我說：「別提了！我今天大聲吼他們。」我同修笑得樂不可支, 還說：「Wow, 老虎終於發威了！他們有沒有嚇得像老鼠一樣躲起來？」我說：「沒有，大概吼得不夠大聲。不過，他們乖乖地自己寫字，整個教室鴉雀無聲。」 我同修說：「你要嚴肅，要兇一點，但不要太兇。」
My students sometimes are very naughty and know how to bully teacher. When I ask them to write, they ask me to sharpen pencils for them. At first, I respond to their requests, like Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. Later on, I found out they search through their drawers to find more pencils to let me sharpen. One student even handed over a whole box of pencils to me, and looked at me with his big eyes. I said I only sharpen one pencil for each student. They have another ability that is they can turn a teacher into a tiger. Recently, one day, I talked with my husband on the phone. He is an experienced teacher. He asked me about my students. I said: “Don’t mention it! Today, I just scold them loudly!” My husband laughed and laughed happily and could not stop, and he said “Wow! Tiger finally shows her power! Did your students being scared and hide up?” I said”No! Maybe I did not scold loudly enough, but, they wrote by themselves and the whole classroom was so quiet!” He said “You get to be strict, more serious but not too serious”. Finally, I get it! Sometimes, I need to manifest in the body of Vajra-wielding Spirit to teach my students. Not only teaching them Chinese, but also teaching them what is right and what is wrong. They have a very good core teacher who always teaches them the principle of being a good person by chance, and my students listen and keep nodding their heads. I found out my students know better than what I think, and it is me who spoil them.
Once, one of my students asked me how to say “happy” in Chinese. Then, I taught them “happy” this word and they learned quickly. It is really not easy to teach them Chinese. There is time when they are very naughty; or you teach them very hard, but they still look puzzling at you. It makes you feel you almost want to give up. But, I could not give up and have to find another way to teach them on the next day. When my students learn sincerely, eagerly and happily, and their bright eyes showing on their happy faces is the strength which supports me to keep teaching.
Though I have no my own child to teach; now I teach some very cute boys at Boys School. Though, I cannot go home to cook for my mom, but on the Honoring Elders Day, I washed vegetables for many elders. I think the purpose of Venerable Master set up Cherishing Youth Day and Honoring Elders Day is that he wants us “Treats one’s own elders so should one treat other elders. Just as one treats one’s own children as one would treat other’s children.” He wants us to learn kindness and compassion from Gwan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. Kindness bestows happiness; compassion relieves beings of suffering. I like to use the Chapter of Great Harmony by Confucius to end my talk.
THE CHAPTER OF GREAT HARMONY(TA TUNG )
“When the Great Principle prevails, the world is a Commonwealth in which leaders are selected according to their wisdom and ability. Honesty and trust are promoted and good neighborliness cultivated. All people respect and love their own parents and children, as well as the parents and children of others. The aged are cared for until death; adults are employed in jobs that make full use of their abilities; and children are nourished, educated, and fostered. Widows and widowers, orphans and the old without children, the disabled and the diseased are all well taken care of. Every man and woman has an appropriate role to play in society and in the family. They hate to see resources lying idle or cast away, yet they do not necessarily keep them for themselves. They hate not to make use of their abilities, yet they do not necessarily work for their own self-interest. Thus, intrigues and conspiracies do not arise, and thievery and robbery do not occur; therefore doors need never be locked. This is the ideal world – a perfect world of equality, fraternity, harmony, welfare, and justice. This is called the Great Harmony (TA TUNG).”