The Note and Tiny Broom

It was very hot out and I quickly regretted the jean capris I was wearing. Nate and I had gotten up early for a trip to the market where we planned to restock our supplies of fresh produce. The long tables that used to hold the abundant supply of vegetables were gone, the covered market area where they were once set up completely gutted. We had come accustomed to buying from the same friendly lady, but she was usually set up at one of the long tables, and was not there today. We had to settle with buying from a different veggie stand. We picked up our usual supply and treated ourselves to some cherry tomatoes and dragon fruit. I had been attempting to clean up our apartment, which was difficult because we did not have a broom. We searched the market for a broom, but nothing we found came up higher than our hips! We had to settle for one of these mini brooms, which was especially hard on Nate, given his height.

I had a demo today, sample classes we provide free of charge to students interested in our program, and was supposed to be paired with Michelle. Demo time rolled around, but my usually reliable partner was nowhere to be seen. I finally found her still entertaining kids from her earlier demo! It was a scramble to get set up in time, and parents were already filtering in as we put the chairs in their semi-circle. Despite the stress I had fun. The children were tiny, and I had to lift them up so that they could reach the Smartboard!

Happy English has seated the bouncy, energetic, new FT (foreign teacher) right beside me. Recently I have been fighting off a head cold, dealing with complaints about my classes from my boss (I had to endure another long meeting after school, this time with my boss, my supervisor, and my Chinese teaching partner, this time that went for an hour after work) and though I was more alive by the end of the demo I had nowhere near enough energy to deal with 20 year old Damien vibrating with excitement in his seat beside me.

“Hey Jenn,” Damian asked as soon as I got to my seat, “What do you think of my lesson plan? I think it’s good,”

I glanced at his computer screen, his lesson plan had no hint of any of the required learning objectives, “It looks fun,” I began tentatively, “but make sure you include the vocabulary and sentences.”

“Well I figure we can’t go wrong,” he defended his work, “They’re only going to learn.”

“They are,” I agreed, “but they also have tests for every unit, and if you don’t cover the material they won’t pass the tests.”

I was given information on our trip to Harbin to get our visas renewed. We will be flying there and back tomorrow. I’m trying to be optimistic but am having a hard time getting excited about a long day of flying under super sketchy circumstances. We are to leave our passports with “Mr Yang,” and will have to somehow fly back to Jinan without them! When we asked Lainey about this she just kept replying “Mr Yang will handle everything.” The only reason we’re actually going through with it is that others in the office have done it before and come out alright.

As if they two meetings I had designed to tell me how terrible of a teaching job I was doing were not enough, I was sent home with a letter, that from my North American view point appeared to be farther degrading and completely unprofessional. The letter was riddled with grammatical and spelling mistakes, and started a long ongoing feud between myself and my supervisor.

At the end of the day we met Damian for Jinan BBQ, and then headed to Katrina’s house, where we found a full blown party going on. The night ended on Katrina’s roof, the top of a 16 floor building. The view was spectacular. We didn’t make it home to bed until 4:00 am.

 

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