HAPPY EASTER: Day 125, Friday April 11 2014

World is shrouded in smog. Just finished eggplant and veggies for breakfast out at the BBQ place. Must return home now to clean dishes.

Marvin has come up with an Easter demo that we will be presenting this weekend. It is riddled with problems and he has already changed it twice and held two meetings about it.

Now, I have nothing against meetings, they are a much needed time to connect and make sure everyone is on the same page. During our time in China I had come to deeply dislike meetings, I’ll tell you why. For the majority of our contract, until our supervisor finally gave up on us “foreigners”, we would have weekly meetings. There would be a handful of things our supervisor wanted to talk about, and she would tell us “meeting, just 20 minute, just 20 minutes,” and the meetings should have lasted for just 20 minutes, except they didn’t. Two hours later we’d still be sitting there talking circles around the same issue that never ended up getting resolved anyways. Two hours of doing absolutely nothing. Two hours of wasted time. TWO FULL HOURS.

Now I understand that China is a different culture, a different lifestyle, recognizes different ideals, and has different ways of doing things. There are many things I loved about Chinese culture, and there are many other things that I disliked, but learned to love, and some that I thought I hated, only to realized that I missed them once I returned home. I had infinitely more patience now then I did in the early days of our journey, but one of the things I could not stand was time wasted at work.

I hated the four walls that trapped me in to the overcrowded office. The combined electric buzz of the computers and the lights gave me constant creativity-killing-headaches, and the wall I faced day after day after day that sat glaring down at me from behind my computer screen seemed to scream like the the visual version of white noise, as annoying as the static on a TV screen. My soul, so enriched and excited by every new experience in this foreign land, died each and every time I sat behind that desk. And if I was going to be trapped there, I was at least going to get something done with my time. So long after my lesson planning was complete I would sit with my journal open, or history book spread out in front of me, pen in hand, scribbling notes, with my chair slightly turned away from that evil glaring wall, and I would work.

At least the classroom where we held our meetings was somewhat pleasant. It was the demo room, one of the brightest, largest, and most inviting rooms in the building. But still it was dead space, and time waisted. I started bringing my notebook to the meetings, Nate started doodling. I don’t know if we were being rude. In that instance I didn’t really care, I was trapped, and my books and writing was my only escape.

Fortunately I got out of the second of Muffin’s meetings because of a make up class with Allen (which I didn’t know about until 30 minutes before it was happing). After giving Allen a candy from the office during my last make up class with him, he has begun calling the office “the candy bank.” He kept telling me during the lesson that he wanted to go to the bank. I of course had no clue what he was talking about. I had to chase down Shirley so he could explain it to her in Chinese.

I had Pineapple class, which of course was awesome as usual. Only concern is that two children, a spacey dreamer, and one of my youngest, don’t seem to be moving forward with the other students. Selina, the dreamer, will prance up to the front of the class when it’s her turn to read, and will point to the letters as she reads, but then will say completely the wrong thing! Alan is an interesting case. He is a fantastic student. He repeats along with the rest of the class, participates in all the games, is perfectly behaved and appears focused. He even started off with a decent base, having attended at English kindergarten of some sort. However, while the rest of the class has climbed steadily upwards, Alan hasn’t moved much at all, and now the other children have caught up and are starting to surpass Alan. He even has trouble with the simplest matching activities, which makes me wonder if there’s more of a problem with concentration then knowledge. One step at a time I guess, for each of my students.

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