Day 96 - Word Picture

Friday, May 13th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains

Earlier this week, we had a brief meeting talking about what would be on the next grade 2 test. Seems like stuff that most of my kids should be able to pass right now, but with the next few weeks of prep, they’ll do amazingly.

My Grade 2s

First class, we open by teaching them the poem that they’re going to have to memorize and recite. It’s a somewhat lame poem about your conscience, called “The Voice.” The Carden method often feels a bit outdated… I always kind of picture it being written by a turn-of-the-century southern states schoolteacher. Who uses the word smock? 

The second class gets it a bit nicer, not having to copy down and practice recitation. Instead, they work on their workbooks and still whined. A star explodes. Afterward, they get to play a game. Man, they are pumped. I think it’s telling how little fun they have when playing a small word game - involving spelling - can really get them amped up.

View from the Grade 5 room: Veggie Gardens
Grade 5s

Another teacher was sick today, so I filled in for both of his grade 5 classes. First one, they also worked from their workbook.. meaning I could study mandarin while they did their work. Easy money! Second class did similarly, but the coteacher wanted me to read with their group. They’re reading about Perseus and the Gorgons. That’s advanced even in North America! Greek mythology? That ain’t no normal language there, Clem! Lucky for them, I’d been listening to Ancient Greek Mythology before I started this current audiobook. The story just starts with the King laughing at Perseus and you don’t know why. Reason: The king is giving him the impossible task of killing medusa because a prophecy said that Perseus would dethrone him.

After class, I rush through lunch with Helena, Stacy, and the Coteacher from one of my sister classes, whose name is escapes me. I have 40 minutes to get food and get to class.

Grade 1s

Good luck ordering. Not bad Sushi, though!
The first class, I taught the seasons and what clothes you’d wear then. It’s amazing how you can fill 35 minutes with just that. “My favorite season is blah and I like to wear blah.” There are 20 kids in the class, all clamoring to tell me their favorite season and clothes. Hey man, express yo'self.

Second class was better behaved since their normal teacher gave them hell for calling me Mr.Shit. Well, clever enough, kids. I’ll give you that much for finding a way to call me stupid in a second language you barely speak. This time was Transformers vs Lightning Zombies. Who would win in that fight? Who cares! Lightning Zombies win! Hoorah!

It’s always nice to be able to walk out of a room of cheering kids. Ends the day on a high note. Back home, I take a long nap, do some work, and relax until Shimou arrives. Time for dinner!

Mango Salmon
Painting a Word Picture of Beijing

After dinner at the mall, Shimou and I were strolling to the elevator. An older woman was ahead of us. She loudly horked up a bit of phlegm, and spat it on the mall floor. It was so normal that Shimou didn’t even notice it when I pointed it out a moment later. We parted; me going to the massage place, and Shimou going to rest in my apartment.

I took in the crisp air. It was a calm night, but as noisy as it usually is in Beijing. Cars honking in the distance, people shouting, and a car parked right on the sidewalk, directly in my path. An old woman on the other side was having a hard time figuring out which way to pass, while I narrowly slipped between the car and a fence.

The smell of rain/moisture and fried pork on the breeze, I passed a rotund man, rhythmically slapping his belly to unheard music, leading him and 3 others on a stroll into the street. Sometimes on hot days, you’ll find such men with their shirts folded upward, resting on their exposed, hairless belly.

Homeward, a chubby woman in sandals jogged by. She sported a pink housecoat, Chinese music pouring from her pocket. When she breezed by, I could see that her hair was wet and she smells as though she just had a shower. It's 1030pm. Strange.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
[g-oh-ng t-oh-ng]
Spit (verb)

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