Monthly Archives: October 2016

I admit I get confused at times. Back in the 1971 I loved the song “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations. It’s now 45 years later and things have changed but not really gotten better. Am I getting old and grumpy, or just unhappy about how the world is such a bleeding mess.

I’ll stay off politics here because I’m either preaching to the converted, or trying to convince people too dumb to understand that they are promoting a racist, lying, cheating, pig. I can’t win. However, in one of my history classes one of my students called Donald Trump, “insane”. I fell in love.

School caries on but I believe I’m getting tired of the teaching game. I don’t know what to do. My skill set is either non-existent or out of date. It’s perplexing. The students don’t like American History (and most of them don’t like history). They have told me (and I appreciate the honesty) that they will only do the bare minimum to pass the course. So that is 55. I have one student whose English is terrible and understands very little. But every class he’s listening and trying. If I were grading just on ability, he’d be a sure failure. However, because he makes a futile effort, he will pass. How can you fail someone who sincerely tries?

We had a parents meeting with one of the classes last week. I told the parents not to punish their children based on what I say. I told them that 4 hours a night of homework is crazy and 1 hour would be better. I just said what I felt. This was a class of 7 where 3 are delightful and I would gladly execute the other 4. It was funny because I was the only speaker that no one had any comments or questions for. Why? My guess and I hope I’m right is that you can’t argue with someone who is telling you the truth.

I think I’d like to move to Austin. It’s a nice place with a lot of variety of things to do. However, I need a job. Help me if you can.

I went to the glasses store to look for new glasses yesterday. They have an optician on site (that’s how things work here) and she was a nice young woman. After my eye test I was looking for frames but Shujie had kept an old pair of my frames, which were still nice. However, I noticed a brand I’d never heard of.


Who in the hell would buy “Helen Keller” glasses? I’m holding out for the Stevie Wonder brand. I don’t get it. Helen Keller was brilliant and intelligent but she was known for being blind, not for her eyesight. I may have mentioned this before, but this is a strange place.

I wish I had more to say but other than burning up at American Politics and becoming disillusioned with teaching, I really have nothing to say. It’s a good thing I love to read and buy a lot of books. I still download films and occasionally even find some I’ve never seen before. I’ve seen so many movies.

I guess I should have saved money when I was younger so I could retire and complain about that. Working is probably better but I need a new challenge. I’m like old man river, I just keep rolling along..



I’m back. My last post was August 31, before school began, before there were any Presidential debates, and before the baseball season ended.

My condolences to Jan and her feeble Pussy-Cats (Tigers). Maybe next year.

We love our apartment. We don’t live at the school, but not far. It’s a 2-bedroom, brand new place. It’s clean and the area doesn’t seem filled with filthy people. It’s not far from school. I only have 10 hours a week (I guess they are respecting the old), and Shujie has 16. I teach American history to Grade 11 ad Grade 12. I think it’s the hardest course (outside of American government which Shujie has). A vast majority of these students know nothing about U.S. history (which is to be expected) but since they are going for an America high school diploma, they need it. So let’s have the Canadian teach American History and the Chinese teach American government. Don’t ask, it’s China.

I had a great textbook (The American Patriot) but it was too difficult for them. I am using U.S. History for Dummies that is not as bad as it sounds. I have very few good students. The majority of students don’t care, they don’t try, and they make no effort. It’s sad. I try to make it interesting but it’s not easy. I loved American history but here it’s so foreign to them. If you teach a subject there is usually some comparisons you can make (like math, science), but American history when vote has no meaning to several students makes it hard.

Shujie teaches American Politics, which is stupid, but no one wanted that job. So she tries to stay 1 day ahead of her students. She has to figure it out and then pass it along. Her job is not easy.

I gave my students an essay and it’s not easy to mark. You want to give them some slack because English is a 2nd language, but they are supposedly heading for University outside China, so you can’t give them too much slack. Many will go based on lies (they raise the grades the teachers give) but they will be back within 6 months. But you need money to go to this school and Chinese think money buys everything. Eventually they will learn it doesn’t.

They do all this American stuff because their high school diplomas will come from an American High School. Even if they want to go to University in Australia they need that American diploma. The students are basically stupid and lazy as if they think their family having money will give them whatever they want. It’s sad. I have a few students I really like and respect. I have a student who is at the lowest level in Grade 11 who would be the 2nd best in my Grade 12 class.

They tell me to mark as I want and I can do what I want but I think that’s because they will raise poor grades. It’s bad for business if you fail a bunch of students but since they don’t care, I will give the marks they feel they deserve. I cut them sasome slack on their use of English, but not too much. After all, they are heading West when they finish here,

We are on a one-week holiday here. We go back on Saturday because its really a 3-day holiday (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) so they give them Thursday and Friday. However, we work Saturday and Sunday to make up for Thursday and Friday. I hate that but I have no say in the matter.

They are constantly letting off firecrackers and fireworks here. It can be noisy and annoying and though we live on the 20th floor, you can get a good whiff of the fireworks.

I will manage and I seem to get along with everyone (Chinese and foreigners alike). We have teachers from Serbia, Madagascar, Brazil, and some other places. If you run an International School, your teachers should be native English speakers, but the pay here sucks, the people aren’t exactly beating down the doors for jobs. You can dress as you choose (big plus for me) and you don’t have to be at school 9 hours a day. You can do your classes and if you have no appointments then you can leave. It’s not hell. I’ve been to worse.

I must admit I am getting a little tired of teaching. I thought doing American History would be great, but I didn’t realize they knew nothing. It’s not their fault but it is their fault if they don’t work hard. Life goes on and we manage as best we can.

The baseball playoffs started yesterday and I could watch it on the Internet. The American VP debate was yesterday and I watched that on the Internet at the same time. I loved the baseball and the American debate was about what you expect a VP debate to be. Because Pence isn’t Trump, he won, but it makes no difference. I actually expected to wake up and find he was fired for outshining his boss. How do you respect yourself when you can’t say what you think and have to buckle under to a knucklehead like Trump. I think after the Sunday debate we can pack our bags and go home. It’s a “town hall” setting so will he be looking people in the eye and telling them they are fat or stupid or idiots. America has gone to hell allowing Trump being the standard bearer for the Republicans. He lies, he denies the lies, and then he repeats the same lies. He tweets at 3AM that a Miss Universe (or America) was fat. I guess that’s more important than Nuclear War. I am so disappointed not in Trump (an idiot is an idiot) but those who follow that idiot are worse.

So I have my baseball playoffs (games are usually at night) and I am 12 hours ahead so I can watch them in the morning. Same as the debates. I watched the World Cup of Hockey and enjoyed that. So the Internet helps and I download a bunch of movies. I read a lot (most of my disposable income goes to books) and Shujie is constantly preparing classes. I just basically have an idea and wing it. I sit on a desk in class and the students don’t seem to like it, but I’m getting old so if I’m just talking (or lecturing) it’s okay to sit.

It’s a life. I think I don’t have a plan to try another career. I don’t miss computer stuff but I’m getting tired of teaching. I’m not sure what I can switch to at 61. Any ideas would be appreciated. I’d like money but I guess I missed the money boat. My kids had a good childhood and my money was for them to do things. I don’t regret it, but I’d love some money and to be able to travel more before it gets too late. My health isn’t great. I have leg and breathing problems and probably others but there are too many to remember. But I work through it and like that Old Man River, I just keep rolling along.

That’s it. Keep those cards and letters coming in (that was a joke). I want to go to Finland to teach, but I haven’t seen any jobs there.