Posted by: lklinger2013 | November 6, 2016

Ten things make a post

  1. I  mailed off my absentee ballot a few days ago.
  2. This job takes up more time than any of my previous overseas teaching jobs. The 1.5 hour (each way) commute has something to do with this. So does the quaint Chinese custom of having school on the Sunday after a holiday to make up for lost time.
  3. I am still “covering” the classes of the new  American teacher who the administration finally admits is not coming. They say that they have interviewed other candidates and that someone might be coming in December (at the end of the semester).
  4. One of the British English teachers left. The other A-level English teachers had to absorb his courseload. I worry about what will happen if we lose another teacher.
  5. Micromanagement and erratic behavior on the part of the English coordinator have driven at least one other English teacher close to quitting. Example: he accidentally left someone off the English department’s email list, sent out some important information to everyone on the list, and then sent me a furious email when I forwarded the important email to the person who needed it. He informed me that it was UNETHICAL to share an email with anyone who was not on the recipient list, even after I explained that I had ONLY shared it with a member of my own department who needed the information. In subsequent emails, he falsely accused another member of the administration of “fishing for information” about the English department and said in so many words that in order to trust us English teachers, he needed to know that our primary loyalty was to him.
  6. Besides the fact that I signed a two-year contract and a one-year lease, what keeps me here is the quality of the students. They are the brightest I have ever taught anywhere. They talk about neurotransmitters, quantum physics, world history, and and cultural differences. It is a pleasure to watch them grapple and play with ideas.
  7. I have scarcely drawn or painted at all since coming to China. I wish I could find a class. On the other hand, I often wonder what is the point of creating an art at all. Does anyone even want it?
  8. Once in class, a student said that the Jews deserved to die in the Holocaust because they had ruined the German economy. I told him that first, you NEVER say that millions of people deserve to die like that and second, that’s my family he’s talking about. I didn’t lose my temper. At his age, I said plenty of heartless and ignorant things. I probably still do, especially when under the influence of white privilege. This student often talks flippantly about killing, bombing, and stealing and so on, but he needs to learn that there are some things you Just. Don’t. Say. (At this point, another student, obviously doing damage control, quickly started talking about a Jewish athlete he’d read about recently.) I think he got the point because later he talked about Albert Einstein emigrating to the U.S. to escape the Nazis.
  9. Another time, a fat student stood up to give a short presentation (students take turns giving  a 3-5 minute presentation at the beginning of every class). He asked his classmates what he should talk about and a tall skinny boy said, “losing weight!” I told him not to say such things. Soon, another student suggested computer games as a topic, and that’s what the first student presented about. I do not allow personal attacks in my class.
  10. I’m becoming friends with the school librarian. A few weeks ago, she and I went to a Korean coffee shop called Maan. It even has patbingsu and fruit waffles.

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