China Team Journal

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday September 17, 2010

Thought for the day: When the going gets tough, don’t go shopping; get a good night’s sleep.

Another scorching and humid day in Xian. Friday is a very long tough teaching day. We taught a morning class until 11. Then we had teachers’ meeting starting at 11:15; it runs about an hour till noon. As last Friday, we had a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant with Julia and many English teachers. Julia ordered a variety of local specialty dishes we never had before. Among the nine different dishes 8 were vegetables and only one was a meat dish. Maggie commented the Chinese could do wonders with vegetables. I couldn’t agree with her more. During lunch Vivian was very surprised that we ate very little. What she doesn’t know is that we have been fed every 4 hours non-stop since we arrived in Xian. Personally I haven’t been hungry at all and yet I could not stop eating when the food was in front of me. We also learned a new Chinese saying: “Sweep off your doorstep.” It means at the end of a meal if there are still leftovers on the serving plates, each person should finish the dish of food in front of him or her.

After lunch we taught another class. At this morning’s class I had about 12 students. They were engaged and tried quite hard with their pronunciations and struggled with their writing. It went as well as could be expected.

However, my afternoon class was truly a test of my endurance in teaching. It was hot to begin with plus there were students I guess were in the class by command. This was not an ideal situation for a non-professional teacher like me, without a great deal of self control, who was tempted to scream and run out of the room. What saved me in this afternoon class was to see some improvements in 5 students from my last week’s class. I guess I did make a difference. On our drive back to the hotel from the school I was wondering whether our teaching in this school is a waste of time. Claudia and Maggie were trying to convince me it wasn’t. And that we do make a difference because there is a cumulative effect. I wish I could truly believe them.

At dinner time we had a long discussion about the problems we saw in this school and in their testbooks. We sympathized with both the teachers and the students. I for one am not qualified to solve this impossible situation. I think the best thing for me to do is just to go to bed and get a good night sleep.

- Marcella