Less than 7 weeks

It’s less than 7 weeks until we’re in Toronto.  I cold be about 5 or 6 weeks left of teaching.  You don’t teach after your final exam.  My exam will be brief one on one interview where I basically ask the students what they think they deserve and why.

If they can convince me their mark will go up.  If they can’t they will stay with my evaluation based on my observance and insight into their piddling little brains.  Just from comments like the previous it seems obvious that I am slowly sinking into “fedupness”.

My big project right now which in my naitivity I thought was brilliant, was to break the students in to groups of 5 or 6.  I have a total of 11 groups between my 2 classes.  They have a rough outline of Romeo and Juliet and they are to write their own version and perform it (with the lines memorized).  My involvement is to leave them alone unless they ask for help and to change their scripts (which they had to hand in) from Chinglish to English, print them, and give everyone a copy.

I am so freaking nice.  Only I would do this.  Okay, maybe others but I’d be to dollars to donuts it wouldn’t be a Chinese teacher.  I don’t expect a party to be thrown in my honour.  All I wanted was if I threw a little trust and responsibility their way, they would reply in kind showing they deserved it.

Let’s just say I overestimated quite a few.  I don’t want to say everyone is bad because most are good.  But we know that the bad ones tend to put a damper on things and bring my mood down.  That’s wrong.  I should be going, “85% did well and 15% did bas so overall that’s good”.  I don’t do that.  I get wrapped up in the 15% of total lazy and useless morons (it’s all about respect).

I had one girl who was a group leader who didn’t send me anything.  Someone else in the group did but I had to reject it.  I admit he tried which is good, but it was totally understandable.  He also sent his Chinese version, which Shujie translated, for me.  However, I wasn’t going to write their damn script.  I don’t care if it’s bad as long as I can understand it.  My bar to succeed it is quite low.  Come in, make an effort, and you’re laughing.

I sent some unfriendly emails to that group and the group leader was quite upset that I was upset.  She had other commitments and I told her she needs to tell her teacher (or her boss in the future) when she can’t do something.  I actually wrote her quite a long email in English, which probably took her 3 hours to translate.  However, I don’t’ speak Chinese and I care about her.

She wrote me back that she understood and that I had moved her to tears.  I’m good at that.  If she got something out of it, then it was worth it.

This week they’ve been rehearsing (and no one has called for help).  Next week are performances.  I’m waffling between having an “Academy Awards” presentation next Thursday or not.  I think I’ll wait until I see the results.

On Wednesday I dropped into the classroom to see if anyone was there and in my first class most show up to meet.  There were a few not there that I had students call and oh yes, they are on their way.  They are scum liars.  I had another boy I texted whose excuse was there was no water to brush his teeth or wash his face.  Of course if he woke up on time, it wouldn’t be an issue.  One student was studying her lines in the library.  Where was the rest of her group?  She didn’t know.  Would they be meeting tomorrow?  She replied, “maybe”.

One boy had his phone off and never showed up.  In fact a few never showed up.  I guess I gave them holidays.  I figured that if I treated them like adults, they would respond as adults.  I was wrong.  But you know what?  After all this time I don’t care anymore.  I’ve been patient, helpful when asked, kind, and all that stuff.  If they still want to only play computer games and sleep on their off time, it’s not my business.

So I’ve changed.  I was not going to fail anyone.  If when I see these plays if I feel that someone didn’t do their job (and I’ll know), they will fail.  No makeup exam.  I don’t owe them anything.  I’ve given and given.  If they want to screw up their future, it’s not my problem anymore.  My standards are so low that you have to have the brain of a slug to not pass.

I will ask the students to try and truthfully grade their fellow group members anonymously.  We shall see.

I am not saying I’m the hardest working teacher, but I try and keep in varied and interesting.  To do these little plays is different and interesting and can be a lot of fun.  But if you have a group of 5 and 2 are total morons who don’t help, you’re screwed.  The 3 who try will not be penalized.  The 2 who screwed up are dead men.

I had one boy who wanted out of my class.  He told me it wasn’t because of me as I was the best foreign teacher he ever had.  He couldn’t take the fact that most of his classmates are morons.  He is one of their class monitors and he was tired of covering for them.  I know the culture is different but I advised him to throw them to the wolves and just worry about himself.  If he wants to be the only one who wants to talk in English during the class, let him.  I’ll talk to him and to hell with those that can’t be bothered to make the effort.  I’ve spent 8 months trying to create an atmosphere where you can say anything and I will never shoot you down for your horrendous grammar.

I’ve never experience mass laziness such as I see her.  It is rather disgusting.  I’m pretty sure next year will be different as these will be students who had to be accepted to the school and are the best from their area.  I do look forward to that.

Today is May 11.  I’m supposed to be paid on the 8th of the month.  Wang Jin does the paperwork and hands it into her fat cow of a boss Christie.  All she has to do is sign and pass it along but apparently that is beyond her hopeless abilities.  Shuie wanted to go in and yell at her but I though it was pointless.  Some people are too stupid for words.  So, this morning Shujie is going to see the cow Christie’s boss to complain to him.  It shows contempt for Christie since we are bypassing her.  I’m considering burning her house down.  Every teacher here gets paid the same day of the month by direct deposit.  The foreign teacherd get paid cash on what should be the same day of the month, but rarely is.  Wang Jin does her job and fills out the requisition but it has to go through channels.  She’s usually done her job by the 2nd that leaves lots of time before the 8th to get my money.  It just makes me sick.  They tell me how wonderful I am and then show such disrespect towards me.  I shouldn’t burn any bridges so I’m keeping my month shut.  But this Christie woman is a cow supreme and should be shot.

We are looking for moving companies to schlep our stuff to Baotou.  We’re up in the air about our electric bicycle.  We’ve decided to leave it up to Juliet (from the foreign affairs department in Baotou) to tell us if it’s worth it and there will be enough months of driving available in the year.  They do have a winter there.

Shujie is trying to work out courses to teach with them.  The problem is Juliet keeps staying in the middle.  It would be so much easier to have Shujie talk to the business department head herself but we play the Chinese game.

I’m proud of myself for lasting the year.  I’m proud of myself for learning something.  I’m excited because I believe it’s a far, far better place I go to than I have every known.

I showed “No Country For Old Men” on Tuesday.  Only 5 girls showed up and I don’t think any of them liked it.  There is no accounting for taste.  It was brilliant.  I think I might do “The Green Mile” on Tuesday.  It’s 3 hours but I think it will appeal to everyone.  I have the “Hangover” with Chinese subtitles so I’m considering that too.  You know, I buy the movies, I show the movies, I tutor who ever asks.  How hard can it be to pay me on time?

Shujie will go to Baoding for a week around the 20th of the month to visit family.  I’m glad for her.  I had to talk her into it.  It’s weird here with family.  She’s worried about me because what will I eat.  I think I can fry chicken breasts, put a baked potato in the over, and grill steak as well has her.  She seems to like doing these things so I just let it go.  This is the year where it’s the  least I’ve ever done.  It’s weird.  I miss being able to do things for myself and I hate having to depend on her to ask others questions for me.  I would think if I studied Chinese for 5 or more years, I might know enough to take a stab at it.

You know, you can stick a fork in me.  I’m done.

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