Monday, September 13, 2010

Me Through Students' Eyes

Last week in writing class, I asked the students to write a short biography of me based on some items I brought to the classroom.  I haven't taught this group of students before, and I told them nothing about myself other than my name.  Here were the items I brought:
  • Chinese-English Bible
  • photo of me, my parents, my brother, and my sister
  • book about China
  • book about Iowa
  • University of Iowa sweatshirt
  • globe
  • bike helmet
The items that caused the most confusion were the Iowa stuff (representing my home state and my alma mater) and the bike helmet (representing that one of my China hobbies is biking through the countryside, and also representing the fact that I didn't have much cool stuff to bring, so I grabbed it on the way out).  Here are a few excerpts:
Alison is a big fan of bicycle.  She has traveled around the world for many places by bike. 
She likes riding a motorbike with a helmet and she thinks it feels great.  
Like most Americans, she likes traveling, especially by bike.  As a student, she also rode bike with her bike helmet and Iowa shirt to travel around.
I guess you must like riding bike.  You like looking at the scenery when riding bike.  Maybe you also like making race with other people.  
She has a IOWA shirt.  She is good at IOWA.  She has a book about IOWA, so she must know well about it.
I don’t know what the IOWA is.  But whatever, I’m sure she’s crazy about it.
I love that last one!  Let me quote a few of the biographies in full, so you can see the range of writing ability and enjoy some of the creative imaginations of my students.
"Alison loves China.  One day (maybe she was very young) she found a place on the globe which interested her a lot.  The place is China.  As she grew up, she came to China to realize her dream.  But the life in China lacks the warmth of her family.  She always put a photo of her five family members in her table.  She misses her family very much.  As a standard Christian, she puts the Bible around her and view it as the holy book.  But in China, she can only buy the Chinese-English edition.  About sports, she likes riding bike, and often wear the bike hemlet to travel among the small city around Qufu.  She has great interests in Iowa and the Iowa shirt is very precious for her.  She often put it in a remarkable place in her home.  Because that’s which best friends give her."
"Alison is a Christianity.  Alison wants to have a journey of China.  Alison is crazy about bike and her favorite sport is bike.  Alison likes taking photos.  Alison is learning knowledge of China.  Alison is a member of Iowa."
"I think Alison may be believe in Christianity.  And I guess she is graduated in the major of geography for she likes using globe to introduce her.  She must interest in Chinese culture very much.  I think IOWA may be a ruggby team that she likes most for I guess the helmet is a ruggby team used.  I guess Iowa must a team that has long history and Alison is its fan from she was young.  I guess Alison came from a family of five, maybe her handsome brother is a government official."
So there you have it: I love China, I love my family, and I'm a Bible-toting, photography-loving, geography major biker chick who plays rugby for the historic team named IOWA.


  1. Lol! I love this!! And I'm sure Bryan likes the part about the handsome brother who is a government official, too! :)

  2. This made me laugh too! Instead of soccer maybe you should have tried rugby! First Uncle Chick thought your dad was a government official, and now your student thinks Bryan might be. Maybe this IS a family thing...Emily does work at a court house...

  3. I agree, Alison, you are good at IOWA. :) ...and I'm glad you think helmets feel great.