Day 68 - Fridays Mean NOTHING

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

Fridays = Lax days.

The pressure’s on from above to finish the reading books. It’s all about how many books they finish, no one cares how much they improve because that is the only true measure of success, right?

Keener Competition

The group I read with has two of my keener students, who I have only recently noticed their on-going competition. The one kid arrives at the table and asks “which spot is first?” I think he means the reading order. They forget that I’m not doing that anymore. Instead, I ask who wants to read and then make them mimic some gesture that I do. First person gets it, so then I can’t play favorites and they can’t complain about being unfair. I’ve upgraded the system because they wouldn’t pay any attention while other kids were reading. Introducing the strike system: 3 strikes and no goddamn sticker for you. Much more effective than I thought it would be, even with the kids who seem to not care about anything.

While reading, the kids will pretend they don’t want to be chosen to read. When chosen, however, they will usually choose more sentences over less. Each keener gets upset that the other got more sentences to read. “They got 6! I only got 5!” Yep, I'm glad you can count. She had complained about something similar earlier this week and I asked “is that fair?” No, it wasn’t. “Yep, but that’s how it is.” I had explained. Chī kǔ!*

The keeners respectively say they hate each other, which I force them to change it to “don’t like." Gotta have some level of civility here.
One of those darn kids Shuttlecocks!

Organ Donation

In the office, Pool and I talk about organ donor status. On the forms, you have to check a box to opt-in to the program. I think it should be an optional opt-out with the default being enrolled in the program. If you care, you can opt out as easily as checking a box. Let the default be helping people. If you’re apathetic, the very least you could do is help someone by doing nothing.

Best Ages for the Chinese Genders

At lunch, Aurora and Carol tell me a chinese phrase about how the Chinese view men and women. The phrase goes something like “A 40-year-old man is a flower in bloom.” I ask what age a woman is "a flower in bloom," and apparently it’s 16! Mmm, no. Can’t say I agree with that. Teenagers are idiots. I’d knock the men down by 5-10 years, and the women up by 5-7 years. This came up because I teased Aurora for being old. We’re the same age, yet it definitely doesn't carry as much weight for me.

Randomly placed "Dog Beggar" in
First Graders...

First grades, as usual, love me. This isn’t unique to me - it’s to pretty much all the English teachers, especially those on Fridays. Think about it: we show up and they play games the entire time. That’s their only experience with us. I have one of the classes names down, which took me longer than I had hoped. Once a week and shifting seats.

The other class is super rowdy, with the teacher having a hard time keeping them in line. I’m getting better at commanding them with voice alone. Useful skill. Get good enough and it could work with unruly adults. Or it could backfire.

Fridays Mean Nothing

My Sunday tutoring student has asked to switch to Friday nights. Sure thing, that’ll be ¥50 more an hour, but we give them a little forewarning. In truth, I’m fine with this. My Friday nights are usually just recovery. Tutor the one girl who didn’t want to be tutored, nap, grab some street dumplings (jiaozi) and huck it over to the other student’s part of town. We say that next month, it’ll be extra for me to go to them, and that we prefer them to come to the mall. That’ll buy back another 2 hours per week and however much it costs to get there and back. Shimou asked me why I thought to charge more on a Friday night. "Because.. it's friday night," I said, "which are a premium night." Not here, she tells me. Friday means nothing.

After tutoring is done, it’s massage time. Hurt so good.

*Literally: Eat bitterness; Figuratively: endure suffering 

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
To Eat
[chur] - Beijing accent


Editing Music
For Reasons Unknown
The Killers

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