NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES: Day 19, Tuesday September 17 2013

“The parents are complaining,” Candy began, “They are not happy with your teaching method.” she went on to explain, “So we think we will change some of your classes.”

Candy, my supervisor, had approached me in the office, saying she needed to talk to me. I followed her into an empty classroom where I met with her and Vick. I was blamed for my teaching style, and then I was also told that the parents in my Papaya and Beyonce classes were very picky. After a long round about explanation I was under the impression that it was not my fault and that these parents complained about every new teacher. Really, Vick told me, it was only three parents that complained. I, of course, was devastated. I was throwing everything I had into these classes, and was just starting to feel comfortable with the kids and their knowledge level. I was doing something that I loved and had been excited to do for so long. I felt a prick in the corner of my eyes and knew tears were not far off.

I was also angry. Of course I didn’t have “enough energy” as they described my behaviour in the classroom. I had just gotten to China, and I had been thrown into the teaching with little to no training or instruction. It has been all I can do just to cope. They wanted to switch both Beyonce and Papaya to a different teacher, leaving me with only one group of kids two times a week. I already felt stir crazy sitting in the office for so long, and now I would have next to nothing to do!

I took a deep breath, cursing my lack of poker face as I knew every emotion was showing plainly on my face. I would approach this calmly and rationally. I explained my teaching strategy step by step to Alice drawing on research and past work experience. I implored her to at least give me a full month with my classes before changing them to a new teacher. I told her I had worked with picky parents before, and had always instilled confidence in them after a sit down meeting, but the problem was I had no one to translate their worries to me or my responses to them as my Chinese partners were often busy elsewhere after class. If she’d give me someone to translate I would have no problem sitting down with any parent who had concerns and talking through my method with them.

I’m not sure if Candy chose not to listen, didn’t understand, or just didn’t care. She did not take anything I said into account, and went through with the decision to switch me out of my classes. I did the planning anyways incase she couldn’t line up another teacher before the next lesson.

I didn’t have a lot do do in the office today, so I used some of my hours to search for the mysterious 17th floor (the elevator only goes up to floor 16, but we’d heard rumours that there was a dojo on the 17th!). The dojo existed, and it wasn’t on the roof as we’d guessed it may be, there was a 17th floor only accessible by a set of stairs. It’s unfortunate that all of the dojos we’ve found have taught taekwondo, which is a Korean martial art, when we’d prefer to study a Chinese martial art. Worth checking out anyways though.

I have some awesome plans for Mr. Bean. We’re having a party tomorrow, it should be lots of fun! On Saturday we start our review (which will be difficult because most of the units we are reviewing were taught by Juan.) Nate and I stopped off at the Supermarket on our way home to get party supplies! Excitement for the party helped end things on a high note at least.

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