Not much is happening which I guess in some ways is good (less to whine about) and in some ways is bad (less to whine about). But I need to post regularly for my 2 or 3 regular readers.
I can’t look at online newspapers during the baseball playoffs. I bought the MLB playoff package for $20 so I have to wait until the games are over and I’ve seen the “condensed version” (who has time for the real) before I can look at a paper. It would have been nicer being in Canada and watching the games on time, but this isn’t a bad deal. If I chose to keep really silly hours I could do that (it’s just like watching TV). You can see replays of the games or the condensed version. It should be a good series and maybe I’ll see a full game or two.
Tuesday night I showed “BIG” with Tom Hanks. It was the perfect film to show these kids. A simple story easy to follow. Simple language. And funny. They laughed and comedy doesn’t always translate well. I’m only afraid they’ll be expecting more of the same in the future. However, “To Kill a Mockingbird” isn’t quite the same as “BIG”. I don’t think I had any 2nd year students show up and only a bunch of 1st year students. That’s fine. What I don’t get are those who say they’re interested but don’t show up. I can’t believe what these kids tell me as a general rule. It’s not that they’re vicious liars, it’s just that they are immature and forgetful. Anyhow I was pleased with the response and I truly expect to see more next week where I’m sure they’ll be disappointed by a great film more geared to the adults.
Classes seem to be an up and down thing. I had a bunch of kids not do their assignments so I read them the riot act. If they do it again, they’re out. Two kids came to one class without their assignment (after the warning) and ran back to their dorms to get it. In the other class there was one student who I’m rather fond of and she didn’t have it. She tried to debate me as to why she should stay but speaking Chinese isn’t going to sway me. She ran out of class and returned with it. Good for her. I have to follow through on my threats.
June, the moronic and idiotic head of the English department (I love her) told her that one of my classes (40 kids) wanted to get up and do more things. Maybe we can play “Simon Says” you ignoramus. It’s great if you have a suggestion but lets get it filled out. I asked the students if that’s what they wanted and they said yes. I said, “give me ideas”, so it will die a death.
I did come up with an idea that the students said they were interested in. I proposed that I would make a recording they could listen to and email it to those interested along with the text in writing. They could listen and then record themselves. Then they could listen to the two and compare. Great idea. If I don’t say a word and ever student takes a turn speaking, in one week every student gets to speak 6 minutes. That’s nowhere near enough and their accents are mostly terrible.
I told them to email me if they’re interested and most of them said yes. I haven’t heard anything yet. I won’t spoon-feed them. It’s something extra I’m willing to do to help them, but if they’re serious, they’ll help themselves. You roll with the punches. If they don’t care I guess I shouldn’t care. It just bothers me since so many seem interested I find it hard to believe they won’t go the extra inch to get better.
I keep getting new students (who are just students with free time) to come and see the foreigner teach. I like it. It makes me feel good. The sad thing is that they are not my regular students. I guess the trading deadline has passed or I’d put in an offer on some of them.
My “friend” Lisa (a 1st year student I met) keeps coming to my classes when she has time. When she comes in everyone gives her the “fish eye” and tell them, “what’s it to you, she’s my friend”. I’ve taken a real liking to her since she’s polite and pleasant and I get the feeling she cares about doing a good job in English and anything else she tackles.
The microwave broke last night so we just reported it and hopefully it will be repaired soon. We live for these moments. Tomorrow we head to Suzhou for a couple of days. It advertises itself as the “Venice of the East” and although there are many canals and it’s quite beautiful, it’s not Venice. I’ve been and have actually stood in the footsteps of Marco Polo, but Shujie has never been. I found a bar/hamburger joint that I hope is still open to get a good cheeseburger. If not, I’’ suffer through a Friday’s. Is my life sad when looking forward to a cheeseburger is the highlight?
I have 3 classes today. Hopefully I’ll have a voice at the end of them. I can’t say it’s all smooth sailing but it’s better than Korea and Israel from a stress standpoint. I don’t stress. If the students want, I’ll go out of my way to help them. If they’re not interested, I don’t give a damn about them. I have to split them like that for my own sanity and so I can provide good learning for the interested ones.
We come back Sunday. I guess that means Shou-cow Sunday night. Ah, I look forward to it.