Yesterday, Monday, began a new week. A new week filled with hopes and dreams. A new week waiting to fill us with wonder and awe and the sights and sounds we behold around us. Get off it. It’s just another week of the same old crap.
I actually think one of my classes is starting on the small road to improvement. I asked them if they thought the little speeches that they have to give are helping them, and they said yes. Of course, they might just be being polite or they might just be liars. We shall see. They do some to be catching on to my humour and silliness, which is good. After a student gives there little speech I make them ask for questions. No one but me ever asks questions although yesterday was the first time a question came from a student. I keep coming up with different ways to raise my hand recalling my days gone by of being in class. You know, the “ooh, ooh, me teacher” way as putting your hand up. Then I lay down on the seats and put my leg up. Anything for a cheap laugh.
The other class is still too early to call. I did have 6 out of 30 students who didn’t prepare anything as opposed to my other class where all 36 were prepared. I’m not ready to give up on them as it’s still early, but the bigger class has taken the lead.
As I was asking at the beginning of class what they did on the weekend I had many replies that they had a class or an exam. Since the class is always together Monday to Friday I was getting a little confused. I think what it all boils down to is that if they pass a Math exam, an English exam, and a Computer exam they can leave this school and go to any University in the province. I was pleased to see that so many students seem to be aiming for this. There may be hope for them.
After my morning class I had about a 2-hour nap. I am extremely tired after my morning class. Today I had a 5-hour nap. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Sounds like I might be sick, doesn’t it? I think what it is, is that my sleep at night is not good due to the rock like mattress and I can’t sit and relax on the couch as it’s so uncomfortable. I might just be so damned tired. I mean, 5 hours is silly for a nap but it did feel good. I don’t know why I can’t adjust to the discomfort of the mattress but it appears I can’t. I do hope it changes soon.
Shujie says she’s taking the job that pays nothing at the school. She went to talk with one of the owner’s yesterday and although I don’t quite understand how it works, she says she’s working there. I asked when she starts and she said they don’t talk about that. I asked her what her hours were and she said they don’t talk about that. Sometimes it’s best to just ignore it all and just let things happen.
She did get a call today from an import/export company that wants to interview her so she’s going tomorrow morning. So even though she has a job she can change her job. I guess that’s good. It puts her in a position of strength when interviewing knowing she has something she wants behind her. I guess I’ll see what happens and maybe one day begin to understand it.
Tonight was my first “movie night”. I chose “The Magnificent Seven” because it’s great and the story is simple. We went to the “language lab” where someone met us there to set up. This room has a monitor on every desk along with headphones. There is also a projector so you can see the film on the “big” screen. We put the DVD in the DVD player and it seems the set-up guy couldn’t figure out how anything worked and the speakers in the room were useless. So we switched to the computer where you could see the DVD controls (pause and so-on), and listened on headphones.
Shujie thought, and I agree, that we would show the English subtitles. However, this DVD had no English subtitles so it was listening only. I think about 20 to 25 students came so I was impressed. I gave a 2-minute talk about the movie as I didn’t want them to feel this was a class. Shujie basically told them what I said in Chinese. The students were a little “shocked” that there were no Chinese subtitles. As I’ve said, these aren’t the most imaginative kids in the world. Why would I show Chinese subtitles for an English film where I’m trying to expose them to English?
They all left at the end like they were afraid there would be a test or something. I just wanted to know how many enjoyed the film. I really have no way of knowing. And there is no way I’ll remember on Thursday who was there tonight. I guess the test will be in two weeks when I show my next film. Shujie says I should make sure there are English subtitles before taking the film to show. I agree.
I think later on in the year I might show them “From Here to Eternity” with Chinese subtitles. The movie is just so good and without the subtitles it would be very difficult for them to understand. I’d like to expose them to excellent classic films. But I won’t do this for a while, as I don’t want them to think they are going to get Chinese subtitles all the time. I’m pretty this one has Chinese subtitles since many of the older films from Columbia Studios have subtitles in Chinese. Why? I don’t know.
There was some talking and the voices bounce off the walls and you can hear it even with the headphones on. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to be a policeman, but I did want to bust one kids head. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when I saw him get there since he’s the one student I ignore because he knows no English and even though it’s college, I’m not sure he’s playing with a full deck.
His voice was the loudest and I just decided that I will let him know that he is not allowed to come to any more “movie nights”. No warning. Just total ejection. It’s my movie and I want to enjoy it. He bugs me and he’s given me reason to ban him. If he would have come and sat quietly I’d have no problem. But as I said, there’s always one. One who will annoy you and who just rubs you the wrong way. I don’t want to think it’s because he knows no English. Rather I think it’s his “I don’t give a damn” way of looking. I can’t figure out why he’s in school. Maybe he’s a genius in disguise and if that’s the case, it’s a pretty good disguise.
Tomorrow there are no classes for me. I hope I can fall asleep tonight after my 5-hour nap. Shujie got our train tickets for the high-speed train from Nanjing to Beijing for September 30th. I’m so glad I insisted she be there for 3PM when they went on sale as opposed to waiting for tomorrow. She said she was 6th in line and 2 minutes after she got there; there was a huge line behind her. So we’re in this Podunk town of 1 million with a line for tickets and there must have been lines in all the other Podunk towns, not to mention in Nanjing itself. So I was right and she was wrong. I only mention this she thinks she knows everything about China and the Chinese and while I admit she does know much more than me, she doesn’t know everything. After all, how can I ever understand taking a job without a starting date or known working hours? It can be confusing.