TEACHING ENGLISH: Day 157, Friday May 23 2014

It was too hot to do anything but nun-chucks in the shade by the time I got out of bed. I picked up breakfast for me and Nate after my “workout”. The food venders had all packed up already, so I went to “the noodle factory” for food instead. There was a lot of fruit on the streets though, so I got us a watermelon!

On my walk home I realized just how heavy watermelons are, which gave me an idea. I ended up using the fruit as a medicine ball to tone my arms! Nate thinks I’m crazy. (“Nate watermelons are heavy” proceeds to start work out)

My newest student in Pineapple class clearly has some sort of disability. The sort that would pair him with a much needed one on one worker if he lived in Canada. He’s dangerous to the other children in the class as he will hit and kick when he gets upset. Today he hit me, and not the kind of hit I’ve gotten from the children with autism that I’ve worked with in the past, where the child lashes out with a glazed look on their face that tells you they don’t know what they are doing. This was a completely intentional hard whack directed right at me. I stepped back out of range “GO OUTSIDE,” I try and reserve my big voice for times when it’s really needed. “Melissa take Louis into the hall, and talk to him. He just hit me.”

I wasn’t hurt, but I felt a bit shook up for the rest of class. I guess I hadn’t expected it. It’s really hard working with the children we find in our classrooms that have special needs. I’ve heard that it’s not “save face” to talk about the child’s special needs, so we aren’t informed, and this makes it hard to know what the child needs. Fortunately I have a background working with children who have special needs, so I am able to recognize and prevent a lot before it happens, and I’ve been able to help suggest ideas to some other teachers who have found themselves at the end of their rope with certain children. Sometimes however this is not enough. Louis needs a considerable amount of help. Melissa has more or less become his one-on-one worker, a position she has never been trained how to fill. While I am easily able to teach this group of students on my own without a translator, it is still not fair to the other children. Especially when, despite Melissa’s best efforts, they get hit by Louis regularly without prompting.

Nate and I had wanted to find a massage place in Jinan for a while, so we went looking that night. The pictures we saw on the first floor of our school ended up just being advertisements for healthy living, the flashing “spa” sign across the road had suspiciously high prices, and the place I’d seen near the law school ended up being closed. “I’m pretty sure the hairdressers does massages,” Nate commented.

“Didn’t you ask them last time you went?”

“No, don’t think so.”

“Pretty sure you did.”

“Well lets check it out anyways,” Nate didn’t seem too impressed by my negative attitude.

Nate was right, I was wrong, and our 30 minute massages turned into about fifty. There was only the one woman doing massages, so the person waiting their turn taught her daughter English. Paying for an extra 20 minutes of massage with free English lesson seemed like a pretty good arrangement to me.

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