Life is pretty much boring. There doesn’t seem to be much variety to it. I thought moving to Inner Mongolia would be exciting and there would be lots of beautiful scenery to see. I was wrong. We are miles from anything so weekend trips are out. It’s cold (-16C at the moment) so going outside doesn’t happen much except when necessary. I could complain that I don’t like this school or it’s people (that doesn’t include the students who I do like), but I think I’ve done that.
The school took all the foreign teachers out for a Xmas lunch yesterday. I guess the news that not all Westerner’s celebrate Christmas hasn’t made it to China yet. They play that annoying music in the stores. I might as well be in Toronto. People don’t celebrate Christmas here except for the few Christians. Strange place.
We went to Baotou’s finest hotel for the buffet lunch yesterday. It wasn’t bad and one of the chef’s spoke with us. He was from Italy. I think the hotel business does have it’s pluses when it comes to seeing the world. I didn’t eat too much (I’m not really a lunch person) and I didn’t die of boredom, but the more I think about it, the more I want out of here.
The coming week is the last week before exams and the holidays. I have nothing planned so I have no idea what we’ll do after the first five minutes. I usually let my classes out early but an hour and a half early might be a little too much. Shujie still doesn’t have her schedule or know what she’s teaching (no one in the International school does), while at the Foreign Language school (my place) I have my schedule even thought they “officially” haven’t sent it to us. You just need to know who to ask because why should they show they are organized. In fact, I don’t even think the word “organized” is in the Chinese dictionary.
I decided after wrestling with the idea for a while that it is okay to fail some of my writing students. I didn’t want to fail anyone but I decided that if they don’t care how they do in class (and all they have to do is simple things and try), then why should I care if I fail them. I was hoping that if they failed the semester, they could save the year by doing well in the 2nd semester but that’s a no-go. If you fail semester one then you get to take a make-up exam. If you are still being failed then you have to pass a 2nd make-up exam that you must pass before graduation. Why don’t they just pass everyone? They don’t care what you know; they only care about showing that all their students pass because it’s good for business. Realistically speaking, I would say that the administration here doesn’t really care about the students. There are a few Chinese teachers that care along with a couple of foreigner teachers. I guess if you dwelled on that, it could be pretty depressing.
For the writing assignment this week, I told the writing classes that they had to persuade me by argument why they deserve whatever mark they think they deserve. It should be interesting. I’ve only had one emailed to me so far (it’s early) and although the writing was terrible, it was well organized and well thought out and the young lady was correct in everything she said. Usually looking at papers annoys me but it was nice to read something with some intelligent thought behind it.
I’m still a movie downloading fool, but I am slowing down. I wish I were back in Canada on December 25th for the opening of “Les Miserables”. I want to see that so much since it is my favourite musical. I will just have to wait until I can download it.
I forgot to show you this picture from the menu I took last week when we went out for dinner at the “Western” pizza restaurant. Their pizza is good but have a look of their description of their “Classic” pizza. It can always be amusing when you see English here.
Here is a picture of one of my 3rd year classes. I like these kids and I’ll miss them. I will miss all my 3rd year classes, as I had to give up things to get the same class for more than one subject. I think class wise the 2nd semester will be fine. I think my overall feeling at the moment is boredom. I’m looking forward to going away on the holidays, but the weekends are a drag.
I really don’t have a lot to say this week. So for those of you who think what I write is too long, you get a break. For those of you who have the patience to read for five minutes, I apologize for the lack of interesting stories to relate.