One of the reasons why I enjoy teaching…

Students are amazingly wonderful people. I gave them an access code to join Schoology as a supplement to our in-class ‘live’ interactions. A few students were slow to sign up, so as one does, I reminded them.

It seems I’m not giving enough homework if they have enough ‘free’ time to do this…


Dunno who the culprit is, but I have some clues. Not sure whether it is appropriate or not in the current political climate so I didn’t make a big announcement about this… but in all honesty, I thought it clever and quite amusing.

Surely I can’t publically condone this sort of behavior but keep it coming Mr. Former President!


On a side-note, it looks like today’s writing is up to maybe 200 words if I really stretch out this paragraph. Considering yesterday’s writing session was too short, and today’s is grossly inadequate, I’ll have some serious catching up to do. However, if one looks on the bright side, at least something is being writing. Two days in a row- woohoo!



A quaint surprise left by father…

A new semester, but familiar faces. I help out in a little kids phonics class once a week. It’s fun to hang out with little kids, to ‘play’ as we ‘learn’ English. I’m not sure if we are actually learning anything,  but I think so. The trick is to treat children as little adults. And smile. And laugh a lot. And to make sure you treat them as equals, and not unimportant. But as we were saying, familiar faces and surprises…

The teacher’s assistant asked everyone to take out a pencil to write with. Everyone was busily getting out their instrument except one girl. Question: How could you come to class without a pencil? Response: I thought I had one in my bag. But when I looked just now, it was my father’s cigarette.

Queue the giggles and laughter. The way it was phrased in Chinese was funny. Even the idea of writing with a cigarette is funny. The whole situation is ridiculous- ten kids and one of them finds a cigarette in their bag. Something completely out of place.

Nonsense that really happened.

from Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Behold, the fool saith, “Put not all thine eggs in the one basket”- which is but a manner of saying, “Scatter your money and your attention”; but the wise man saith, “Put all your eggs in the one basket and- WATCH THAT BASKET.”
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

July 4. Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it, inspiring the cabbages.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

It is often the case that the man who can’t tell a lie thinks he is the best judge of one.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? Is it because we are not the person involved.
-Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Laughter and Tears

Need to make this one a quick one. Nursing my cold to death. Shut eye is important.

As of late I have been ‘winter-camping’ 6-10 y/o Chinese kids. I am attempting to learn them English. They are attempting to devour me alive.

In the beginning there was ‘Bazooka Joe’. I knighted him with the Bazooka for several reasons. Joe has a funny slur from his missing two front teeth. Along with an excuse mouthful of little kid saliva, what could complete my imaginative dreaming better than a nickname. Bazooka thinks he’s the big stuff. Yes, he’s only 9 odd years old. He’s already pressing the limits. Today I made Bazooka Joe cry. Or he cried because he knew he stepped too far. I feel no guilt, in fact I think it’s funny, mainly because matching wits with a 9 y/o is no easy feat.

But don’t discount karma.

Before we get to that, let me introduce another character.

His name is Adam. He’s the funniest little Chinese kid I know. I swear to god he looks like a Chinese Adam Sandler too, Same goofy grin. Only etiquette and good manners are stopping me from posting a snapshot and proving my point. It’s uncanny.

Silliness is abundant. There’s never a dull moment. From when I first met him he was shooting his imaginary gun at his new teacher from behind the corner of a door instead of going to recess with the other kids. I ignored him for the first several weeks, then I finally shot back. Then I chased him away. With a laughing scream he ran away, but seconds later crept back and was shooting me again.

In class, we were making sentences about our parents. Some students said this, some students said that. He said his dad was a pilot. I put it out of my mind until yesterday. Lo! and behold his father walks in, in uniform!

Adam is usually bouncing off the walls, mad with energy. I asked him if he likes coffee and he said yes. So I, in my infinitely lacking parenting advice mode, semi-quipped to the teacher’s aide who then may or may not have talked to his parent about the health matters concerning children and coffee. If there are even any. I don’t know…

One day, I see Adam and his parent at the local KFC. I swear to god he looked directly at me but it didn’t click. We avoided a huge scene, which was nice. I waited in line and I overheard him telling his mother he wanted coffee. I wanted to cry.

Another time we were learning words. How funny is it that Adam read the girl’s name “Eve”? I’d say extremely.

Another silly day today. After making Bazooka Joe cry and horsing around with Adam, I got what was coming. Have intentionally because we were horsing around, half out of sheer hilarious fear, I received a point blank basketball to the face. As instigator in the situation I was responsible for my fate. Adam on the other hand fighting back laughter repeatedly uttered his sorry about 20 times, genuinely feeling I may become mad or angry about the situation’s results.

Today was par for the course…

Now off to bed.

Pig Me

A great resource for entertainment (and teaching material) is No Fat Clips!!! This website has reviews media and links to downloads of shorts, independent productions, music video productions, etc. Most are animated. 
For a written exam, I asked my students to watch a short animated clip in class, write a summary of the clip and give a perspective analysis. The short film is titled, “Pig Me”. I think a few students even got the pun. 😉 There are several themes one could ponder. Have a watch and tell me what you think!
These lessons go over well because they are entertaining and provoke the students (and therefore perhaps educational), while not being totally for-fun-only.
And as I grade (or read) their writings, I’m amused with their insights and, more often than not, word usage. Example: “In the movie, we can find that the little pig wants to change his bad fate by himself. So he runs and runs in order to find a refugee.”
Ah- you’re killing me softly

A Cloud in the Canal

This true story is amusing to me. I’ll share it at the expense of my dignity.

A few weeks ago I had to visit the emergency room. Before you become alarmed and flood me with email and phone calls, let me assuage your fears by saying the visit was not life threatening by any means.

Long story short: The fluffy cotton part of a ‘Q-tip’ got lodged in my ear canal.

Short story long: One morning or afternoon after my monthly shower, I decided it would be an opportune time to clean the wax that had hither to amassed inside my head. No problem, right? Well my non-branded cotton swabs apparently weren’t up to par and well, the rest was history.

At the time I did notice when taking the malfunctioning utensil out of my ear that there was in fact part of said utensil missing- I’m one of those people that smells dirty clothes to see if they are indeed dirty, touches scalding hot things to see if they are in fact scalding hot, looks at boogers in Kleenex tissues (and their non-branded equivalents which I probably won’t be using in the future) and examines whether there was enough wax in the inner ear to accommodate a colony swarm of bees- you get the idea.

Because of my carefree nature I didn’t think much of it being missing. I was mildly surprised at its absence. My reaction was to call in the ol’ pinkie to investigate, in hindsight not the most clever idea. The smallest finger okay’d the situation, seconded by the unimpaired auditory system. Reaction two was to casually look around the floor for a lone and out of place miniature carnival treat. Still nothing. “Eh, oh well,” and like an orbiting electron the whole situation ceased to be present.

Come evening readying for bed, the earlier event creep-ed back into my consciousness. I had someone take a peak into the depths of my inner soul. Sure enough a buried treasure was there waiting for the first explorer charting unexplored territory. Unable to fish it out, we hopped in a cab (9元 or about a buck twenty-five, remember this for later) and headed for the emergency room. After very little paperwork and almost no waiting in a chaotic emergency room, the doctor took one look, grabbed a monstrously monster-looking pair of pliers and out came the overly used cotton swab. Total fee for the extraction process: 6 元, or a little less than a dollar American.

In fact. I was not embarrassed at all, more ambivalent of the whole experience with the exception of how quick and inexpensive it is to have a piece of cotton removed in a busy Chinese emergency room.