Day 53 - Sleeping in the Teacher's Lounge

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Smog Level: 1/3 Mountains

Tomorrow’s the open house. I need these kids to be ready with the questions I’m coaching them on. Same lesson as yesterday, yet the first class, Washington (named after states), isn’t getting with the program. They had a field trip on Wednesday, which means they didn’t learn stuff from earlier. I’m forced to rush through the stuff they need to know for friday, and the stuff they need to know for Monday’s test. Trust me kids, I wish we could be more relaxed than this. 

Painful for everyone.
Different Stages...
For the second class, one saving grace is that our only problem child is gone, sick, since yesterday. Best case scenario: he doesn’t show up until Monday, saving us all the difficulty. Not that I want bad things to happen to him, but… please don’t show up tomorrow.

I have to come up with simple english definitions using words that they should already know. Given that, how the hell do you define “chance” for ESL 2nd graders? Probability of something happening? I ended up with “a try” from phrases like “give me another chance” or “second chance.” Then in their homework it was using phrases like “He has a high _______ of getting the job.” They’re in second grade! Also, what sick bastard thought teaching ESL kids “cent” and “sent” in the same lesson was a good idea? I guess I’ll accept either of them on the test.

Class was just about to end and who do you think shows up? That’s right, the troublesome kid. He’s just in time to miss literally all of the prepping for tomorrow’s 'performance.'

I grab lunch with Jen, Wendy, and Aurora. While we eat, I accidentally kick Aurora under the table. I say “bù kè qì” (you’re welcome), catch the mistake and correct: “bù hǎo yì si." Whoops. 

We have a quick Mandarin lesson where I learned that “” is like : it becomes a different tone depending on what follows it. Example:  when followed by anything that has the fourth, downward tone (bú duì, ("not right") for example). This may seem confusing, and sometimes it is, but it should make things easier when speaking, and will help the sentence flow better. So I assume.

...Of the same tree
Aurora rescheduled our class to tonight after dinner, so I’m stuck hanging around campus for the next 3 hours. Lounge time! I’ve read most of the all-new, all-different marvel universe, and have been watching “Daredevil” where The Punisher has been introduced. I’ve never given him a chance, and decided to do so now in light of nothing else catching my eye. Pretty damn dark, and definitely adult rated. Entertaining, though.

New first: I took a nap in the lounge. I saw a Chinese teacher sleeping in an uncomfortable, wide-open space, so why can’t I do it in the corner where it’s harder to see me? I sprawl my things all over the table so people don’t come over to see if someone’s using this table. Hiding my face in a spot that's hard to see, I cover my eyes with my sweater. Bliss.

One hour and a ¥5 latte later, I hoof across campus to meet Aurora for dinner. Lunch had very little meat, but dinner was loaded. Not bad, not bad. She seems tired, and I’m still sort of waking up. We talk a little about Canada, where she seems to think is all forest. I remind her that Canada is bigger than China, and that China has more than one climate and ecosystem. I tell her that I'm from near the great lakes, and, mostly, farmland. She asked if I had swam while home, which brings up my year of Winter. I don’t prod nearly as much as yesterday, but we talk about our respective significant others.

After dinner, her guitar in one hand and my Mandarin notes in the other, we go back to the lounge for a knowledge exchange. First is her guitar lesson, where she is just a beginner. I practice my guitar a little, teach her some basics about the fretboard layout, how the major scale works, and the relationship between the strings. In our mandarin lesson, she had made a lesson plan which was completely scrapped the second we sat down because we reviewed what I had learned in the Mandarin class.

Nice trees in my apartment complex
It’s funny. After the Mandarin class, I felt discouraged. Like, "I’ll never get this." After this lesson, I felt like, hey, maybe I’m getting this after all! It’s funny how your confidence in a language can fluctuate so widely. She wanted to check out the massage chairs, but they were all taken. Instead, she showed me how to draw a character on the practice paper. Also, she knows how to play Chinese chess, which I really want to learn to play. Old men often crowd around Chinese chess tables along the city blocks. You’ll see them, huddled together, watching a game and occasionally causing a ruckus. I wouldn’t mind joining a game!

We part ways at the bus stop. I fail a few attempts at tying a tie, and recruit Josh for assistance. Apparently they’re going to want us to wear ties and tuck in our shirts on Fridays, starting in the indefinite future for when the parents show up. That’s reasonable, but it could be a foot-in-the-door sort of thing. We’ll see. A little more professionalism in my attire would be welcomed, supposing I can find clothes that fit. 

Coworkers have offered to lend me money (Brad did today), but I feel like I have enough outstanding debt from enough varied sources. Friendly bunch, multiple coworkers have offered. One went as far as to say that there’s no reason to suffer when I can just borrow from someone. They know I'm good for it, after all. If you follow this blog, you’ll know how much of a masochist I can be at times. I’m still thinking about the 'suffering' statement since a couple days ago.

Bottom line: Man, I can’t wait to be paid. 

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
White - baí [by]
Brown - zōng [z-O-ng]
Blue - lán [lawn]

Editing Music
Shine My Diamond Ring
Sean Rowe

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