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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Every week in my culture class I give 7 students a short essay to write.  I can’t give everyone homework because that would give me about 300 papers to mark.  I’m not doing that.  So I pick 7 and give them a topic.  The topic from the week before which I now have to mark is “What would you different from your parents when you have a child”?

You could say nothing along with the reasons for saying that if you are satisfied with the job your parents did.  Out of 42 papers, I had 1 student who was quite content with their upbringing, which was nice to read.

Out of the remaining 41 papers I read, many broke my heart.  You really have no idea what it means to be a kid in China.  You know at the end of the year when the newspapers show the best high school students?  There is a reason that most of these kids are Chinese.

The average Chinese child has no life.  They go to school and after school they go to a training academy.  I’m not talking about every student, just the vast majority of them.  A high-school day lasts 12 hours (not including homework).  It really does break your heart.

Some of the stories I got were very difficult to read and I have no idea if they would write the same thing for a Chinese teacher.  Somehow I doubt it.  My 3rd year students writing ability is abysmal.  I asked them if last year in writing class if they had writing homework every week and they said no.  I just banged my head against the wall.  How can you get better at writing if you don’t write?  These are foreign teachers shirking their responsibility to make an effort.  It makes me sick and it embarrasses me.  I have told my 2nd year writing students if next year they write like my 3rd year students of this year, I will lose face.  We all laugh, but I am serious.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  I have tidied up the writing somewhat because you are not experienced Chinglish readers.  I have not changed a lot of what they wrote, and the meanings I never changed.  Read them and you’ll learn a lot.  It’s much better to hear from them, than from me about this topic.

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When I was just about 7 years old, I often played with other children in our village and forgot to finish my homework.  One day, when I got back home, I suddenly found that all my books were gone.  Finally, my mother told me that my father had burnt them.  After that, for a long time my father did not say a word to me, he thought that I was not a good learner.

When I was in middle school another thing happened.  My classmate, a beautiful girl, got pregnant.  All the teachers and students laughed at her.  Nobody helped her, even her parents.  When my parents heard the news, they told me I couldn’t be friends with that girl and I couldn’t play with boys.  I think if I am a parent, I will put some books about sex on his bookshelf.  If he asks me, I will let him know that it is usual to make love when we grow up, but we should be careful about getting pregnant because it’s harmful if a girl is pregnant and you don’t want to have a baby.  So you should take measures to prevent conception.  You can buy medicine or condoms.

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Third, when I am a parent, I will let my children be free to choose their own friends, select their own classes in school, plan their own future and generally run their own life in a more independent way.  I will just give them suggestions when they need help.  My parents often ask me to do thinks that they like.  For example, they compelled me to study English as a major, and asked me to choose Baotou Teacher’s College.  They also regard it as their responsibility to teach me traditional beliefs.  They want me to be obedient and study hard in school.  They also blame my behavior and criticize the style of my clothes instead of caring about what I think.  They think rock music and popular songs are garbage.

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When I was a little girl, my parents prevented me from doing many things.  I could not go outside except with family members, nor could I play with someone they did not like, let alone opposed what they said.  Study is the only thing I can do and must do, and even after the National College Entrance Examination, they decided which college I was to go to and which major to study.  They ignored my own choices.

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My parents were so busy that they had no time to stay with me during the day.  I stayed with my grandparents and at night, after I fell asleep, they came back.  So I couldn’t see them everyday and I knew they worked hard for the whole family, but in my heart I think staying with my parents is more important than everything else.

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When I was 8 years old, my family moved to the outskirts and lived on the prairie.  The most depressing thing is that there was no school at all.  So my parent’s decided to send me to my uncle’s home, which was located downtown.  Frustrated and unhappy, I stepped into this strange place.  Everything was so strange that I dare not speak a word.  My uncle treated me well while my uncle’s wife always shouted at me.  “You’re so slow!”  “Be quicker!”  At the same time, their child also ordered me to do something.  Therefore, living in this environment, I became more and more solitary.

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“Honey, it’s time to get up.  Yesterday you got quite low marks and just ranked tenth in the class.  If you are less hard working than before, you’ll never catch up with the others.  Don’t be lazy, hurry up, hurry up!”.  A nightmare suddenly wakes me up and almost scares me to death.  Fortunately it’s just a dream.  Since attending college, I have got rid of endless complaints and the scolding of my mother.  Being a grown-up, I can live independently to do whatever I like with no limitations of my parents.

I clearly remember when I was in primary school my parents forced me to have extra Mathematical Olympiad classes and English classes on weekends no matter how much I hated the boring classes.  Actually I was fond of singing.  When I told my parents that I hated Math and English classes and wanted to try singing, my father said it was no use learning singing and insisted I should concentrate on academic study.  Afterward, I had to obey him with my musical dream nipped in the bud.

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I remember when I was 8 years old, I had to learn many courses and did a lot of homework which burdened me a lot.  All of these annoying tasks were just for the final exams.  The most important thing was my parents cared more about my grades than me.  So every day they stressed me to do all the studying tasks.  Although I really hated to do them, I had no choice because they would punish me if I got a poor mark.

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When I was a little boy, my parents left me alone, and they just wanted to earn money.  Only at Spring Festival time could they come home and stay with me.

I remember my parents only cared about the marks I got on the exams.  High marks made them happy, while low marks made them angry.

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I have more examples but I think these will suffice.  I only hope these kids remember these things and make changes when they have children.  You are supposed to have a childhood when you’re a child.  It’s similar to Korea and we all know (or I know) there are more student suicides in Korea than any other country.  Hello!  Hello!  Is anyone home?  Bunch of fucking idiot parents.

Parents will say it’s terrible but they must do this because of the competition to get into good schools and get a good job.  Hello?  Anyone home?  You want to get into a good school, know someone in power.  You want a good job, know someone in power.  You want a good grade?  Prepare to give the teacher or the principal a “red envelope”.  The “red envelope” contains the bribe that will advance your child.  This is a corrupt society where rank and power mean everything, everyone is afraid of their boss, and the workers are forced to be incompetent due to fear.  And the usual boss only wants dumber people to work for them so the boss can look good.

If you are lucky and do get a job, then be prepared to be on call 24/7 for less than $1000 a month.  And guess what?  If you don’t like it, you can quit.  There are 1,000’s more people who are more than willing to take your lousy demeaning job.

It’s freaking sad.  I can’t do anything.  I can show and tell them how things are in the West and they are not perfect, but it’s a life these people will never have.  Only when the students grow up and decide to change things, will things change.  But it’s not going to happen in my lifetime or the lifetime of my students.  They get a 2-hour refuge every week in my classroom and I’m glad to provide it.  I’m glad to share a different way of life.  Does it serve any purpose?  Maybe for a couple of them, I hope.

There are a lot of menial jobs here.  There is an older woman who looks after the bicycle garage where we put our electric bike and others put their bikes.  She was informed that she had to get rid of her dog.  Her dog was tiny and never bothered anyone.  She was so depressed.  Why does she have to do this?  Because some moron decided to exercise their power.  I told Shujie I wanted to complain to someone but she told me not to.  She said if I complain then they will blame this lovely and kind older woman, so I have to keep my mouth shut.  They really have you trapped.

Why do I live in this place?  There are good things and I learn a lot.  But there are a lot of things that literally break your heart.  There are simple little horrible things that happen.  The kids get brainwashed (Chinese are hard workers).  I had to tell them Chinese are not hard workers and are next to useless.  The reason they work 12-hour days is because it takes 12 hours to do what a Westerner can do in 3 hours.  The bureaucracy doesn’t make it any easier.  Everyone has to check everyone else’s work because they live in fear of making a mistake and suffering the consequences.  I usually don’t say these thoughts to my students, but sometimes when they are so off base, I feel I must speak out.

I’m not going to change anything.  I adjust and try to follow the culture but that doesn’t mean I have to like everything.  But when we are in my classroom, we do things my way and we can say what we want.  When I leave the classroom I must follow Chinese rules.  Yesterday we went to the bank to do a simple transaction.  It took two hours.  I admit it makes me a little nuts.

“What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger”.

Our Vietnam trip is booked and I’m looking forward to that.  We are going for 2 weeks and we will spend about 5 days in Baoding with Shujie’s family.  I want to visit Harbin which is supposed to have an amazing ice festival.  It also has a Jewish museum that was made from an old synagogue.  There used to be a large Jewish population in Harbin but now there are no Jews.  But it should be interesting.  And it’s only a 29-hour train ride.  Shoot me now.  But I really want to see it.

Life goes on and sometimes the things you know that stay hidden in the back of your mind, make it to the front.  It can be upsetting.  Yes, we are lucky in the West.  I have/had parents who loved me first and foremost.  Maybe they could have paid more attention to how I did in school, but I never worried that they didn’t love me.  And that’s number one, isn’t it?

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How often in life does a 94-year-old man die and you can honestly say that it came as a shock?  I mean 94 is old, isn’t it?  My Uncle Murray died this week and I was shocked to learn about it and saddened beyond belief.  My uncle, who was my father’s older brother, was in good health.  His brain was functioning just fine and he could still make silly jokes.  He still drove his car (and made his children nervous).  He took care of himself and kept busy.  He had Parkinson’s (I think but maybe not) and his hands shook a lot.  However, he could still draw and paint (one of his hobbies).  Here he is recently with a couple of his paintings.

If my fantasy world, my Uncle Murray was the one person who would live forever.  He was a stable rock in my life who I just knew would always be there and we would be able to visit once in a while.  He lived in Detroit so I never saw him as much as I would have liked to, but seeing him and being with him always was a treat and brought laughter and smiles to me.

My mother was very upset at his passing.  As she said, “he was never down but always up”.  She spoke with him on the phone pretty often and she was quite shocked by his death too.  He went quickly.  He felt unwell at dinner and they called an ambulance (he lived in an assisted living home).  He died on the way to the hospital of an aneurism so it was fast.  I’m glad he didn’t have to suffer and as much of a shock as it was, especially to his kids I think, it’s ‘better’ if it’s fast.  You don’t want to watch someone deteriorate (like my dad).  My cousins I consider very lucky as they had both their parents alive until my cousins were in their 60’s.  That’s pretty amazing.

My Uncle Murray was the first person to point out to me that my father was going bald.  I remember as a child being at the beach and asking him where my father was.  He told me to look down a ways and look at the head the sun was shining off of.  That was my dad and his bald spot, and that was my Uncle Murray, making it funny.

When he and my Aunt Rita used to come to Toronto to visit, they would leave about 5AM.  I always thought they were crazy but my uncle wanted to “beat the traffic”.  I thought it was funny and they would leave about 5AM to return to Detroit.

When we used to visit Detroit when I was young, my uncle would always take me to the zoo.  For some reason he loved the zoo, or maybe it was just that he loved taking me.  I remember him talking about the “Penguin House” they were building at the zoo.  He was very excited about that.

When I had my quadruple-bypass surgery when I was 45, it was only my Uncle Murray who made me cry.  He phoned me to see how I was and I was struck by the absurdity of the situation.  Here I was, just 45, getting a phone call to see how I was from my uncle in his 80’s.  I thought the world was upside down.  But he cared and he called.

He was a good man.  My father loved him.  They used to talk about going to Europe together (my uncle served in WWII but my dad was too young).  But it was just talk and they should have gone.  I have never heard anyone say anything negative about him and there is a reason for that.  He truly was one of the “good ones”.  There aren’t enough of them, and now there is one less.

94.  And now he’s gone and it shouldn’t have happened but I’m not being realistic.  It’s just difficult to think of a world that my Uncle Murray isn’t in.  He’s always been there and he always seemed so indestructible.  I will miss him and I’m sure everyone who knew him will miss him too.  It must be hard to live to 94 as you see too many people die before you.  But as I said, he was a strong man who never showed a down side.

I’m very upset that I couldn’t go to the funeral.  When you’re 94 you don’t get a big crowd.  Do you have many friends, if any, when you get to 94?  Probably not.  I should have been there in honour of his memory, and to be with my cousins Gary and Janice (his kids).  It’s the down side of living here in China..  The world is a little poorer now with his passing.

But for the rest of us, life goes on.  Here in China it’s business as usual.  I did something good in class this week with my 3rd year classes.  We had debates.  I split the class into groups where they debated living together before marriage.  Regardless of your personal belief you had to argue for it being a good idea or a bad idea.

Each side had 4 or 5 people and everyone had to talk.  It was the first time I had everyone in class talk.  It was the 1st time I heard some of those kids talk.  It was great because they got to think and argue which you don’t get to do in Chinese schools.  I’ve decided to hell with the curriculum, I’m just going to do what I think is best.  And what is best is giving these kids a chance to think and use their brains.  School here is “duck-stuffing” as it’s called.  That means they just beat information into your head and you memorize everything.  You don’t question the teacher; you just follow the book and repeat it.

It’s so different from here and I can’t help but believe it’s a worse system.  The kids spend most of their childhood in school or studying or doing homework, and not doing “kid” things.  I hate it.  So I’ve started doing what I did last year which was to try and think of things that will let them use their brains and exercise their imaginations.

I learned a joke this week about the Chinese education system from a student.  One day the teacher asks the class for their ideas about the lack of food and hunger in the world.  The American student says, “what is hunger?”.  The African student says, “what is food?”.  The Chinese student  says, “what is an idea?”.  That explains the situation here.  Everyone knows it’s wrong but it doesn’t change.  The students don’t like how they are taught and they are not allowed to think.  The teachers don’t say anything because it might upset their bosses.  Everything stays the same because everyone is afraid of the person whose level is above theirs.  So you keep your mouth shut and say nothing.  These people are nuts and I can’t change them.  I can only have my own little world in my classroom and hope that a couple of kids get enlightened.

Most of the students here don’t believe in living together before marriage.  A girl’s reputation and virginity are still important here.  What a family says and what other’s think is important.  It’s different.  I can’t debate them myself on this because it wouldn’t be fair since my English is so much better.  I can just explain the Western view and let that sit.

I had to give a lecture to about 120 students (not mine) on Thursday night.  All foreign teachers do 1 lecture on a Thursday night to some kind of class.  What a waste of time.  I chose to do “Religion in the U.S.” but I changed it to mostly religion.  Few people have religion here and few people believe in God.  I had a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation, I had music, I had a film, I was ready.  I didn’t even get to do half as I was over-prepared.  I have trouble editing myself.

The microphone didn’t work so I had to speak loudly and most of the kids weren’t interested before I even started.  There is a myth that the Chinese are polite but it’s a lie.  They are the rudest people I’ve ever met.  I told my 120 students who I was lecturing that.  I told them they should go home and save their parents the money they are wasting sending them to school.  I took two newspapers away from a couple of girls and tore them up.  They probably thought I was mad, but I wasn’t.  I was annoyed and I playact a lot.  And, I don’t accept that kind of behavior.  If I were a Chinese teacher, it wouldn’t have happened.  But because I’m a foreigner and therefore a “nice guy”, it happens to me (and others).  I don’t get that crap in class (but it’s a smaller group to manage) and I won’t do this ever again.  I don’t care that I get paid for it, who needs it.  The students don’t care so it’s a waste of my time.  It’s so amazing at times to realize my students are around 22 years old and are about as mature as 14 year-olds in the West.

I have finished watching 8 years of “Law and Order” on Netflix.  That’s about 190 episodes.  Now there are 20+ years of episodes but Netflix only have the first eight.  What will I do with my life now?  I’ll have to find other things to watch or maybe finally start trying to teach myself to play the guitar.

Shujie and I are going to Vietnam in January.  We are in the process of narrowing down the tour choices.  I’ve gotten a lot to go through and we’ve narrowed it down to about 4.  We’ll decide and book the beginning of next week.  We’ll go for 2 weeks and I’m excited about it.  Vietnam was never on my list of places to visit, but I’m here and it’s close.  I’d rather visit Japan but it’s wintery there now and it’s quite expensive.  It should be interesting.

I have video of some of the debates, which I am trying to upload to Youtube.  Once they’re there I’ll post them and you can watch what you want.  I think parts of them are quite entertaining.  With all my classes I listened to 18 debates and I enjoyed every one of them.  I think my next biggie will be to put them in groups and they have to write and perform plays based on Chinese, Western, and a made-up culture.  Why not?  They’ll get to use their imaginations, which are pretty good.  I often forget that since they aren’t used to using them.  I think this will be more beneficial than teaching them how to act in an “intercultural encounter”.  That’s kind of insane since they are all in China and if they go West they won’t have the book to refer to.  And if they want to have an “intercultural encounter” they can encounter me.

What can I say?  Shujie and I were in the supermarket on Friday when I came across this.  Naturally I was confused because after all, what is a stupid egg?  I showed Shujie and I asked her, “what does it mean”?  She laughed.  She couldn’t believe how bad the translation was.  I think after talking to her that it refers to the eggs of free-range chickens.  Why stupid egg?  It’s China, need I say more.

The Internet and my VPN has been awful.  The VPN companies blame it on the Chinese Communist Party Congress that we are blessed with until the 14th of the month.  Goodbye Hu Jin-Tao.  Now maybe he’ll have time to get his teeth fixed.  The Chinese leaders who I know aren’t short of money avoid the dentist like the plague.  I wonder how they can go around the world representing China with teeth like that.  Take a look at some of them.  It’s frightening.

I played hooky on Wednesday.  We are 13 hours ahead here and I wanted to watch the election results.  I mostly watched NBC.  I would have preferred CNN but you have to have a cable service to get it.  Dumb.  I look at the anchormen and I don’t know them.  I know Brian Williams (not a fan) but they wheeled out Tom Brokow sometimes.  CBS used Bob Schieffer who I love.  But NBC had the most stable connection.

I thought Obama would win, but I must admit I thought it would last past 11PM.  If Mitt (and who would vote for a man named Mitt) had stuck to his record instead of prostituting himself for the Republican/Fascist nomination, then it would have been closer.  He brought health care to Massachusetts and did other good things and then backed away from all the good he did so he was just another puppet of the fascist right.    What a country.  History has shown the middle wins most elections but when will the Republicans learn?  This is the party that freed the blacks and no blacks vote for them.  The Hispanics who are one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. have no use for them.  Republican=Dumb, I think so.

I showed “True Grit” this week for my movie and most students thought it was the best movie I’ve shown so far.  Next week it’s “The Sixth Sense” which I’m sure they’ll love.  For some sill reason I wanted to show “The Pianist” but it wouldn’t work.  It works fine in our home but at school it jams.  So we invited 3 very lovely ladies over last night to watch it.  I think they appreciated it and they come to the movie every week.  I lend them movies that I won’t be showing to the multitudes.  They’re good kids and they brought fruit as a gift.  So, they were brought up right and have proper manners and respect.

I will miss some of my 3rd year students.  They are growing on me but it’s taken a while since at only once a week, it takes time to grow.  They are getting more used to me and I to them.  I still miss last year and having a class 3 times a week.  I’m convinced now it’s better.

On Thursday night I have to give a lecture.  Every foreign teacher has to give a lecture on Thursday nights (we get paid) and my topic is “Religion in the U.S.”.  Ha, ha.  I am changing it a little to religion and the foolishness and ignorance of it.  You can quote the bible to find silly stuff.  I found a great George Carlin routine that I’ve adapted so it’s more easily understood, but I’m no George Carlin.  My goal is to offend any other foreign teachers of the Christian persuasion.  The floor is mine and I can say what I want.  I will also be showing the documentary “Jesus Camp” which is a must-see.  Sending kids to camp to brainwash them to go out and convert others to Baptists.

I will do some of the history of religion; poke some fun at Christians, Jews, and Mormons (weird people).  I will offer a disclaimer at the beginning that anything I say is my viewpoint and they can find someone else to discuss this topic and they’ll hear a different story.  I’m not a bigot.  I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in religion and that’s my right.  The thing I always loved about Canada over the U.S. is that you can live in Canada and never discuss religion because no one cares what you are.  In the U.S. it’s an issue.  Who cares?  If it makes you happy and it’s your crutch, then by all means use it and keep it to yourself.

We are going to start looking into Winter vacations.  Vietnam is looking better all the time.  The flight prices are reasonable and it’s not too expensive.  I think it will be fun and we have 7 weeks to kill.  We went to the local travel agent and they said come back after the middle of December and they might have some information.  If we do our own flight and get a tour in Vietnam then it will be in English and it won’t have Chinese food.

Not much to report this week as life marches on.  It snowed again on Friday night and it’s around zero.  I’ve been told it gets to around -20C on average so we’ll see.  Everyone is amazed I don’t wear long underwear because everyone in China wears them.  I know I’ve lost if I ever give in.

 

Would this be considered a sign of Winter?  This is what we saw when we awoke this morning.  I heard there would be snow, but I was skeptical.  However, here it is.  This picture is taken out the back window.  Maybe we’ll get a lot of snow this winter.  Someone told me yesterday (a Chinese fellow) that the temperature hovers around -20 in the winter.  We shall see.

Tonight we are going out with Nadja and Greg for HotPot.  HotPot is a very popular dish in China.  You get a big pot of boiling water or soup (who knows what) and you put your uncooked meat or vegetables in it.  It takes about 30 seconds to cook.  I can eat it.  Nadja is a teacher here who seems like a nice lady and her husband is Chinese.  Naturally I’m curious so I thought it would be a good mix since we are both from mixed marriage’s.

Our goods we ordered from the warehouse we went to last weekend since “Jenny’s” our Western foods store went out of business has actually ordered and received what we asked for.  Supposedly we will have it by Monday.  They have it so that’s good.  I’d hate to run out of Nacho chips and salsa.  Plus for some strange reason it’s the only place I can get cheddar cheese.  In Jurong it was no problem but in this “big city” of 2 ½ million people it’s not to found.

I found out most of my classes will be switched next semester.  I’m not getting what I want, but it’s closer.  I will only have 2nd year classes so I lose my 6 3rd year classes.  I like a lot of the students, but they think they’re so much smarter than they are.  There is still hope (I hope) for the 2nd year students.

I will keep my 4 2nd year writing classes plus I will also have 3 of those classes for speaking/listening too, and one of them for Introduction to Culture.  My other 2 classes will also be Introduction to Culture, but I’ll only have those 2 once a week.  I wanted a class 3 times a week but it’s a bit better than what I have now.

If by some miracle we decide to stay another year, I know to ask for all I want before deciding anything.  I know I was lucky with my setup last year, but I think if I go back to a “dummy” college I can get that.  The fact of the matter is that English majors have a better vocabulary but they can’t write a sentence and they can’t speak a proper sentence.  The “dummys” (and I’m not trying to be insulting) knew they weren’t good.  These kids don’t really understand just how bad they are.  Of course, being China, they don’t want to fail anyone because it’s bad for business.  I haven’t decided how honest I will be at marking time.  I give 60% of my mark in my 6 culture classes for class participation.  That means if you just talk and try you can get a good mark.  If you don’t talk and based on your other work, about 40% of the students would get below 30.  I think that would really freak out the administration and pretty much assure that I’m not coming back.  I’m not doing it to be vindictive because life is so much easier when the students are making an effort.  If they make no effort their papers are hell to mark (I’ve pretty much given up and I just write at the bottom that what they wrote is garbage and not English).  As I keep telling them, I’m not their parents.

It’s a real problem.  The maturity of the students (who are 21/22) is lower than my 16-year-old niece Hayley.  That’s because they are given no responsibility.  Their parents tell them everything to do, and their teachers teach them how to memorize things.  You don’t need to exercise your brain.  Of course, I try and explain that we do things differently in my class and they have to think.  Maybe if I had freshman it might work better, but by the 3rd year, they are clueless.  I wonder what their other foreign teachers have done.

When they give me papers, I am a very hard marker.  I tell them I don’t give them 80 just because their attendance is good and they handed something in.  If they get an 80 from me, they can feel proud because they earned it.  So they bomb out on their papers but as I tell them, on the other hand because class participation is the big thing you can still get a 70 by doing lousy work and trying in class.

It’s very frustrating.  I was very upset this week because I don’t feel I’m having an effect, and if I am, I don’t know who I’m affecting.  Last year I had an effect on 3 to 5 students and I was pleased.  The effect wasn’t about learning English, it had to do with using your brain and thinking.  English is minor in the big scheme of things.  I have 300 students who I don’t really know and who don’t really know me.  How can I have an effect seeing them once a week?

I need to figure out the secret of getting through.  Next semester I’ll have about 220 students (which is better) but is still too many.  It depresses me and on Wednesday I was a nervous breakdown.  My problem is that I care.  I don’t have to reach all the students or even 20% of them, but to reach a few would be nice.  I have to learn how to handle this.  Shujie tells me I shouldn’t care so much, but if I don’t care, why bother doing this.  I’m not here to change China or hundreds of students, just to make a small difference in a few lives.  If I can’t do that, there is no point.

So that’s my big project for now.  I need to figure out how to have this effect.  Maybe it’s impossible here.  We shall see.  The new semester (begins in March after the 2 month holiday) will give me some idea.  I don’t really know if I want to stay here.  There are too many foreign teachers and I don’t think the staff gives a damn about the students.  Pay your money and that’s it.  They’ll pass you and move you along.  I’m telling students all week to quit school if they’re not going to try and save their parents some money.  Maybe I’m the only one that tells them the truth and cares that they try and make something of their future.  Maybe others care and tell the truth, but I don’t know.  But I have to figure out how to balance all this or this will make me more crazy than I already am.

I quit the high school this week.  I couldn’t really handle the rushing back and forth.  It wasn’t worth it.  I would get there and worry about the time.  It’s better for me to just forget about it.  I feel guilty because I couldn’t deliver, but I guess I’m not Superman.

I bought the Windows 8 upgrade.  It sure looks different and I think it’s slow.  I should have stuck with Windows 7.  The upgrade was only $40 so I couldn’t resist.  Fool.  Maybe I’ll adjust.

I gave all my 3rd year students a surprise test on the reading I assign them every week.  They all tell me they read it but they never have questions.  Some students tell me they don’t read it because I don’t check it.  Ha, Ha.  I told them, “what if I give you a test?” and they all laughed.  Now I’m laughing.  I’ve marked ½ the papers (3 classes worth) and 2 people have passed.  Maybe they’ll do the reading now.  They care so much about marks here so it should be quite interesting to see their reaction to they’re failing.  I actually stopped reviewing the papers and I just scan them.  I can tell if they came close or they failed by a mile.  If they’re close, I’ll review it, but most of them aren’t even in the right ball field.  I tell them I assign the reading not for me, but for them.  Dumb.  They are so immature but what can I do.  The culture insists that they stay immature.

This hasn’t been my best week ever, and I need to see some improvements in the situation.  There is no point if it’s not fun and I’m helping.  Naturally I won’t throw in the towel yet.  I just hope the towel doesn’t throw me in.