Another week, another $250

Or something like that.  It’s been a quiet week.  I’ve been tired, again.  I need to sleep in the morning.  I can’t believe the music is defeating me again.  It’s so unfair.  I hate it.  The students hate it.  Why do they think these silly exercises will help the students?  Because they’re stupid.  They should make me the Education God.  If they do that the classes will be more interesting and the students might learn more instead of practicing their memorizing skills all the time.  But I shouldn’t get my hopes up for that promotion.

Mondays are “tutor Beata” days.  She’s such a sweetie.  With her horrendous accent she comes in, she speaks English (and I can understand her better so I think she’s improving), she’s always trying to talk, and she’s so little and cute.  Of course that doesn’t make her stand out.  I think out of 140 students I have one fat kid.  This isn’t North America.

Beata told me that she leaves school the end of January.  I know this is her last year but I should she’d be around until the end of June.  But apparently they send them off to work so she is going to work in a city about 30 minutes from here.  Originally she was going to Shanghai.  She said she had a job there and a boyfriend but she feels that this job that’s closer will offer her a better opportunity to learn things.  She thinks that in 5 years time she wants to open her own shop.  All I can say is “good for her”.  Go where you think you have the best chance to succeed and advance yourself.  Smart girl.

Monday night was speech not and the “boss teacher” wasn’t there.  I was told she wasn’t invited since we were giving the prize for best effort and she knows no English.  The kids were noisy but I didn’t say anything except for one time telling them they were rude.  I’m not there to be the police.  I told Eric (a student who seems to be in charge) that I’m not coming anymore unless the “boss teacher” is there to play policeman (or policewoman).  I also said I wouldn’t take part if there were more “winners and losers”.  If they want they can have a draw and give a prize.  But I don’t want to judge and try and come up with 29 categories so we can attempt to get a new winner every week.

It appears that next week there was a change of heart in the “boss teacher”.  The kids had a choice between doing a speech on homosexuality or sex.  I think they voted for sex.  What that means, I couldn’t say.  But I look forward to it.  I’m curious as to what they’ll say.

What’s strange about the kids here is that if you ask them to sing in front of the class, they will.  In North America that would never happen.  Here, it’s no big deal.  Okay, so and so is going to sing a song and so and so sings a song.  Weird.  It’s nice but it’s really weird for me to see.

As for my classes this week they were more of the same.  I can’t understand the kids who won’t try to speak.  It’s been 2 months with me so they know I don’t belittle anyone who tries and I’m very positive.  I’ve gotten a few kids to speak and once they do it, the next time is easier.  I’ve given up forcing people to lie and say they understand what I’ve said, or what I’ve read.  If they put up their hand and ask, then I think it’s great and I always say, “there’s a smart person who’s going to ask a question”.  If someone doesn’t want to ask, I won’t spend time letting them know how stupid they are not to ask.  I’ll just work with those who care.  Time is short.  I’m not their father and they are supposed to be some kind of adults.  Some are and that’s good and I’m there to help.  Some aren’t and to hell with them.

It’s nice when I see that I have the trust of the students.  I had one boy tell me after he saw me talk to a Chinese English teacher, that he didn’t like her.  Chinese kids don’t say that.  I was flattered he told me, and I told him that I didn’t like her either and neither does Shujie.  I tell them that what’s said in the class, stays in the class.

One of the many myths I’ve discovered isn’t true is that Chinese children always do what their parents say, and they never lie to their parents.  Yes they do.  We’ve been discussing “Should children always listen to their parents” and while there is nothing earth shattering that has come up, it lets me know that I shouldn’t assume anything.

Tuesday night we showed “The Wizard of Oz”.  I was pleased to learn that some of the kids had seen it and most who hadn’t did enjoy it.  I had one boy who I’m fond of ask me before if there would be Chinese subtitles.  I told him no, but I assured him he would love the movie.  He didn’t.  Fantasy isn’t his thing.  I asked him what he liked and he told me killing and war.  That surprised me since he’s a decent, well-mannered kid.  I told him that next week I’d show a special movie for him thinking that I’d show “Gladiator”.  When I opened the case at home, there was no movie in it.  That was it for my war like movies.  I felt terrible.  I asked him the next day if he liked gangster/criminal films and he said yes so I have “Goodfellas” waiting for him.  He’ll love Joe Pesci.

The weather dipped on Wednesday as expected and I’m freezing when outside.  I bought gloves and today I bought a hat.  I have one girl who had a muff on to cover her hands the other day.  She’s so freaking cute.  I think it’s supposed to start climbing the next few days and then it’s back to the cold.  You’d think I was from Texas and not Toronto.

Shujie and I aren’t going anywhere this weekend.  We’re pretty much out of reasonably close places worth visiting.  I don’t want to hang around here every weekend but there is no point in going away just to go away.  We do want to make a semi-major trip in February during my one-month’s vacation (lunar new year).  We will start looking into it in a few weeks.  Thailand is sounding real nice right now.

Our big plans are to have coffee with a student on Saturday (tomorrow) and coffee with a different student on Sunday (Estella again).  I told Estella she could pay and she was quite thrilled.  I just may pick her up and put her in my pocket one day.

I think with the colder weather travelling won’t be happening so much for us.  I think we’ll have to find another DVD store and I’ve got lots of books.  I like the feel of an actual book more than an ebook, but being able to download books is great.  I’m almost a native.  I think tomorrow night we’re hitting a Chinese restaurant (who would have thunk it) but Shujie assures me it has black pepper steak.  Of course, that doesn’t mean a lot since it still might taste like garbage.  But I can hope.

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