It’s early. I’m not ready to throw in the towel and I soldier on. Perhaps if I was alone I would have blown this pop-stand, but Shujie likes it. I’m a touch (okay, more than a touch) more fussy than her. She’s Chinese so she can tolerate the inconsideration and idiocy that seem to be a major part of this school system.
As I’ve mentioned several times, I hate my schedule, and with each week I hate it more. Ten classes, 300 students, 2 subjects. I see them once a week and I really have no problem with the students. However, if I don’t see them more, it’s just so hard to build a decent relationship. They don’t know me and I don’t know them. It’s so stupid. I’m sure that if I had them 3 times a week teaching different subjects the whole dynamic would change and we would all be big winners.
I’ve been told that the schedule will be changed for the 2nd semester. Then I was told it might be changed. Let’s just say I’m skeptical. I don’t trust anyone here over the age of 30. Is is paranoia when people are really screwing you around?
I speak to the acting head of the English department fairly regularly. They asked the students what they thought of the new teachers and I got a brief insight into what passes of thoughts for them. I basically threw out everything they said because if they don’t tell me, it doesn’t count. And if the moron who sits at the back of the class and pays no attention has a problem, it doesn’t count. Those that try and have suggestions I’m very happy to listen to. I want to change to make the class better. I told her I didn’t want to see these Chinese comments because I thought they were crap and I would do my own question and answer period.
If every class I asked the students to write down what they thought about the class and about me and write them down. I left the classroom so they could discuss in private. I wanted constructive criticism, not just “let’s bash the class”. Seriously, I’m open and don’t know everything. I want to learn and I want to have the best classes possible.
I have received a few good ideas that will change my class but the majority of things I received were received from students who suffered a lobotomy before entering school. In my writing class one student wrote that she didn’t like it because, “I don’t like writing”. That helps. I have students who don’t like if I sit on a desk (that’s disrespectful but I told them to grow up and deal with it.). I drop my books on my desk instead of laying them down neatly. I told them to suck it up.
My marks are too hard. I explained that you don’t get 90 because you don’t miss a class. I told them on the first day that if they talk and try, they will do well. They don’t have to talk, but I don’t have to pass them. I’m not friendly because I’m not all smiles for 100 minutes straight. Of course, no one is. I’m not as kind and considerate as other foreign teachers. I asked what that meant and no one would tell me. So it’s bullshit. The majority like me but I’d love to know where the intelligent students are coming from. I have no idea and until some confronts me at the time they think I do something wrong, I’ll never know.
Then there are students who want to talk about other topics. I tell them, “great, what topics”? Dead silence. I’m sorry, but what a bunch of fucking idiots. Not all of them of course, but enough of them to perhaps pass along a false impressiom.
I think after years of doing this I have a good idea of what I’m like. I never get angry, I’m always friendly and helpful, and I tell everyone they can talk to me anytime, inside or outside of class about any subject, school or not.
I show movies every Wednesday night. That’s not a subject. That’s my money and time at work. It’s been one year and one month not one student has said, “thank you”. I had students write that I shouldn’t show black and white movies, but only colour. What a bunch of idiots. I’m trying to expose them to different things that most of them haven’t seen. I’m sorry, I’m not showing “Transformers” movies.
Obviously this sticking in my craw. If I was smart, I’d just ignore it all, but I’ll admit that I’m hurt. I know what I am (pretty well) and these students don’t know me. Maybe if I had them more than once a week, we could build a relationship. We shall see but I don’t hold out much hope.
I had students write that I need to give homework every week. I do give homework every week. I need to show examples of what the work is, but I do show examples every week. Now if you’re a 3rd party who doesn’t know my class, what do you think? That’s why I basically told her this was all crap. Now I said it much more diplomatically so I’m sure it goes over her head.
Shujie doesn’t want to move next year but wherever we go, if anywhere, would have to have a job for the both of us. I try. I could be better, but I need the help of the students telling me what could be better.
Enough of that crap. In high school this week I showed the Norman McLaren short film (8 minutes) called “Neighbours”. It’s 60 years old now but it’s just as great now as when I first saw it. The students liked it. It is probably the best-known Canadian film every made. If you haven’t seen I strongly suggest you invest 8 minutes. It can be found at the National Film Board site or on You Tube.
We are on our 10 day holiday now. We will just run around town until Monday when we’re going to the desert to put Shujie on a camel (a fate worse than death) and to visit the Genghis Kahn Mausoleum. Old Genghis won’t be there but it’s supposed to be good to see. On Wednesday we will go to Hohhot (capital of Inner Mongolia) for a couple of days. It will be nice. I’m already worrying about how to fill up 7 weeks of holiday. It’s not cheap to be on holidays and I have no desire to sit here. It’s soon time to start thinking about it.
Maybe things will get better but it has got me down at the moment. It’s funny, but some of my freshman from the dumb school are smarter than some of the morons here. Weird.
One other thing is that I brought the Beatle song, “Can’t Buy Me Love” to high school and played it. I was surprised that some of the students had even heard of the Beatles. One boy says, “Hey Jude”, and then he takes out some paper where he as written down the words. It was pretty amazing. I asked him to sing so he grabbed a friend and they tried. By the time I whipped out my camera they were near their end but here are the 18 seconds I got. I hope you enjoy.