Friday, May 19, 2006

Class time

Guess what! I'm writing a post about class time when I should be lesson-planning! I do it because I care, friends.
I teach high school. I also give a university class 3 times a week, and once a week, I have three periods of little 2nd graders. But most every day finds me at my "normal job", working at high schools named #7 and #11. #7 is a private school with a focus on English, so a lot of their kids are pretty decent speakers, and they're all pretty well-behaved. #11 is a different story. It's near the city center and not well-funded. A few of the classrooms I teach in have no chalkboard erasers. So I wipe stuff off with my hand. By contrast, #7 private school has televisions in every class. The kids at #11 public are streamed into "good classes" and "bad classes", which means I have some classes full of studious but shy girls and some classes full of delinquent and rebellious girls and boys. The latter fully understand my position, which is: I speak a very limited amount of Chinese, they speak almost no English and I'm in no position to give them grades which will directly affect their next year's placement. This equals pretty much no respect for the foreign teacher. They fight in class. They play soccer with crushed coke cans. They throw all kinds of things. They yell. They run out of class. They come back in through the windows. And yet, I don't hate my life. #11 days are draining, and sometimes I dread going from my peaceful apartment to the bastions of ignorance, but it's a challenge, and as these pictures from #11 show, the kids are pretty fun when you're not making them work.

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