as of late

i am finished with school. for this semester that is.

this week and last i gave oral finals to students. i took them out one by one and asked the “if-then” questions…. for example… “if you had a million dollars, what would you do?” or “if you had to choose between money and no love or love and no money, which would you choose?” type questions. i had about 80 different questions so it wasn’t terribly monotonous. neither was it dull; some of their answers where quite fascinating. while i was outside, i played the disney movie “antz“. i’m not sure if they enjoyed it. or if it made them think at all. and yes, sometimes a disney movie can make you reflect about life. if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it, and it may be increasingly interesting if you have lived in an [over] populated country.

some of the classes got a written exam instead. actually only two of eighteen. why? i was tired of sitting out in the cold weather freezing my bazookas off. i’m glad i did this though. instead of asking them a random question i had them write down several things. 1) their name and student number 2) the grade they think they deserve 3) the grade they would like 4) what they have been up to for the last month [i haven’t seen my thursday classes for over a month because of one schedule conflict or another, because of cancellation, or because of some special event. it was ridiculous]. most of the responses where pretty monotonous but a few gems stood out. one girl was honest and said, “The highest points I have got was 73 points.” actually this isn’t really following directions but i gave here a high mark for honesty and her motivation for the response to question 3): “I think I can get 90 points”. As I may in fact be a rooter for the underdog, and believe aspiration in life is virtue that should be rewarded, i feel fully justified in awarding her her highest grade to date. Another treasure I received was from one student who wrote “U have changed a lot U. now. LONG, BLACK Mustache. Just like a MESS! U’d better change Ur style. Oh, sorry. I forgot to say nice to see u again.” Ah, kids… gotta love ’em!

today was smooth sailings. i got up, had breakfast in the canteen, (breakfast in china i really enjoy for some reason….), did some laundry and prepared myself for tutoring. today i took the place of another teacher who left on vacation. i tutored an italian businessman. it was quite enjoyable, and i think he had more fun just chatting in general than with learning the grammar and writing points. prepositions can be difficult and there don’t seem to be so many rules… they kinda just go with the verb. er… anyway, he’s the vice manager or something like that (didn’t really catch the title) of a manufacturing plant where they produce car stuff. won’t get into the details, but it’s pretty cool to learn about the whole deal. i look forward to our meetings next week. the guy of the language center that drives me out to meet the italian guy is pretty cool too. he’s a chinese guy that has lived in germany for a while, german being his second language… english his third. so it’s globalism at it’s best/worst depending on how you look at it…

next week will start the real grind. i’ll be tutoring this italian guy, and also a random french guy, and perhaps a chinese kid in the mornings. the week after that i start an intensive language course for 7/8 y/o kids… it will be a lot of work but i’ll enjoy it and the pay that comes with it. idioms- ‘a penny saved…” is a great one… i just wish it worked in reverse.

ok, well time for a power nap and then i have to hit the books for my own language self study…


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