Friday, December 30, 2011
I made two versions of the final to try and eliminate some of the cheating. One test had a picture of the pilgrims and indians having the first thanksgiving and the other test had a picture of three little children trick or treating in costumes. I would ask the students to tell me some things about the picture. I had a few students, when given the second version (with the trick or treaters), instantly begin to tell me about Thanksgiving and that the people were eating turkey, etc. Then the students would walk away from the test looking confident and ready to whisper that answer to the next student.
My favorite catch was when one student was waiting in line and I saw him looking at a small piece of paper and quietly repeating the four words that I had on my test. I took the paper from him and saw that he had the words written phonetically in Chinese Characters so he could pronounce them. Sometimes the English teachers would stay in the classroom to help keep the kids quiet which helped a lot.
Monday, December 19, 2011
[The following is only meant for my family to read]
For some reason when I read over my sentence that mentioned "the inconsistency of blog postings" I kept thinking about the consistency of squirrel droppings. What else do trees have to talk about?
Also, classic movie I watched last night: That Thing You Do.
"As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
A lot of us today do pretty good at keeping the 10 commandments but I think sometimes we forget ( or prehaps conveniently ignore) this scripture. It seems like today many of us get caught up battling against minor issues and we frequently overlook major ones. What a world this would be if we all practiced the principals in this verse. This just seems like one of those responsibilities that as humans and as Christians we can not ignore. All my life I was raised to be super frugal with my money and it has been a huge struggle to give anything (always with thoughts like "I could buy ten sticks of lamb barbeque with this", etc.). Well I wasn't able to write that as clearly as it sounded in my head, but I hope I got my point across. If anyone has any comments please let me know.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Then when I am giving up any hope for Chinese students, my final class of the week swoops down and pulls me from the brink. It is not that the students in the class have much better English (though they do), it is simply that they are really interested in learning English (which obviously contributes to them having better English). Both classes have a super high amount of energy, but the final class manages to use their energy to learn, laugh, volunteer, ask question, and make my day. I got through all the slides, played 10 minutes of games, and still had time to show them some hockey fights at the end. I don't know how the classes manage to be so entirely different, if it is because of their head teacher or some other reason. It's just quite a relief finishing the week up on a high note.
sorry if there are any problems with my spelling, grammar, etc. Too lazy right now to go back.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
One night last weekend all the other teachers were busy with other stuff and I was was getting super bored (and hungry), so I decided to make somewhat of a legit dinner for myself. So I spent about an hour searching for groceries (its hard to find mayo and mustard here) and another two hours making random dishes that had popped into my head earlier that day. In the end I had a dinner of deviled eggs, carrots (split into quarters and soaked in water, of course), pickled garlic (no idea where that one came from), bread and honey, toast, and pan fried chicken breast. Despite my unorthodox methods of making a lot of the food, dinner didn't turn out too bad. Paprika for the eggs would have been big, but oh well.
I also found some new stuff at the fruit stand the other day. The mini oranges are great. They are only about $1.50 for a bag and they last me a while. Also, it only takes about 15 seconds to skin them, so I can just eat them for breakfast or snack on my way to class. I'm not really sure about the black things, I just bought them because they looked pretty neat (kind of like a demon buffalo skull). Despite looking cool, they turned out to be too much work and not much reward. I had to use a flat head screwdriver to break it open and then to pry the inside out.
Just today I finally managed to find a tutee (I had to verify several times on google that "tutee" is actually an appropriate word for someone that you tutor). She is already accepted to a university in Canada after she graduates and wants to learn some English to prepare for classes there. Her English is good and she is not too shy, so it makes the hour not feel like I am pulling teeth which is nice for a change. I think it will also be good for me because I will have to research news articles and videos (I have tended to neglect the news since I have been here) and give me a different teaching experience.
Tomorrow I am going to try to get a gym membership, set up a bank account, buy a new phone, and meet some new tutees. Should be an interesting day.
Monday, November 14, 2011
This morning in kindergarten, I was teaching the kids about clothing-- pants, shirts, hats, etc. I was trying to explain "put on your ____." and "Take off your _____." I was demonstrating this phrase to them by putting a hat and scarf that I brought on and then taking it off. Then I let them put it on and I would ask them to take it off. Most of the kids are 5 or 6 and just tiny. One little girl asked me if she could put on my coat (I was wearing my blue zip-up hoodie (which is even big on me)), so I let her try it on. The bottom of the jacket dragged on the ground as she tried to walk around ( I really wish I would have had a camera with me) and she could hardly lift her arms because the sleeves were so long. Explaining it doesn't do it any justice, but I thought it was just too funny. Of course I then lost the class for 5 minutes to laughter and giggles.
Tomorrow, I am going to be teaching my students about careers.
Friday, November 11, 2011
On Wednesday, a Chinese English teacher, a friend, and I went out to dinner. My friend ordered the two dishes we always order at our favorite restaurant-- fried breaded mushrooms, green beans and eggplant, and our lamb meat skewers. We told the teacher to surprise us with the third dish. We quickly realized our mistake when the waiter brought us a bowl of congealed blood squares and calf stomach lining. After I got over the thought of it, I tried it and it wasn't too bad. She also ordered some chicken heart and stomach bbq skewers which were awful. There are some foods that I just can't understand how Chinese people can eat. Stomach, intestine, cartilage, etc. just doesn't seem like food one can enjoy. However, they do make up for all of that crap with their bbq lamb skewers.
On Monday and Tuesday, another Junior 2 teacher and I each taught for half of the class time. I taught about family and she taught about Halloween. I showed the students pictures of both sides of my family from the beach. As the the students saw the pictures, they let out a collective "WOOOOWWW!!" I thought that was pretty flattering for my family. However, when the other teacher showed the students a picture of Halloween candy, a significantly louder exclamation could be heard. Granted, I should have realized that a good looking family could never stand up against a bucket of candy in a class of 13 year old students.
This morning while I was teaching my third period class, I realized that 11/11/2011 11:11:11 would occur toward the end of my class. At 11:11:01, I turned on the TV which showed my computer's screen saver which displayed the time. We began a ten second countdown and at 11:11:11 everyone let out a huge cheer. It was a fun moment in an otherwise slow day.
One student asked me today if I had a girlfriend, when I responded that I did not. The student said "Well that's good, you get to celebrate Single's Day today." I guess in China, 11/11 is celebrated as Single's Day. I asked the student how I was supposed to celebrate the holiday and he told me that I should drink some wine with my friends (I guess fellow single people?).
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Once upon a time, a girl wanted a red Google phone and brought it home. Someone called her up at midnight when she turned off the phone already. But the phone was still ringing and then she answered. The man said "I'm on the first floor." The girl broke the phone, then the sound came out from the broken phone. "I'm out of the door!" The girl hide herself in the quilt. Finally, a sound said, "I am JUST BEHIND YOU!" Tomorrow, the girl were observed that she was die.
As the group wrote this terrifying thriller, one girl was so afraid that she wouldn't take her hands off of her ears the entire time.
On thing that is obvious with 5 yr olds learning a new language is that they tend to memorize phrases that they are taught rather than understanding the parts of the phrase. I think I explained that pretty poorly so I will give an example-- "I am fine, and you?". In the maybe 10 kindergarten classes that I have taught since I started not a single student has answered my question "How are you today?" with "I am fine". The response without fail is "I am fine, and you?". Even if I ask a different question like "How old are you?", I'll often get "I am fine, and you?". This can often be tricky also because the phrase sounds very much like "I am five (which many of them are), and you?". My favorite, however, is when I ask a student another question like "What color is your shirt?" and he looks at me with bewildered eyes and responds "I am fine, and you?"
There is a joke that is particularly funny to English teachers in China which involves a Chinese person in America driving a car and they are hit by an American driving a car (this has nothing to do with the poor driving stereotype). The American person is not hurt at all and the accident was his fault. The Chinese person, on the other hand, broke his arm and his leg and can't move. The American driver asks if he is OK, and the Chinese guy responds (I think you know where this is going) "I am fine, and you?"
I know that probably could have better written but I'm still recovering from the gauntlet that is kindergarten and need a nap.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
And because of the lack of pictures at the beginning of this post, I will include a picture of my kitten looking like he/she (still not a 100 percent sure) owns the place.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
As a random bonus I am including a picture of fried quail eggs on a stick.
It wasn't the man made things on the mountain, however, that made us glad we spent the money to come here. It was instead the awesome views that we encountered during our expeditions into the mountain. We were hesitant to continue at one point to a cave high in the mountain because we had already been hiking a lot that week. We kept climbing past the cave until there was no path or people. We climbed some huge boulders and found an awesome view on top and looking down.
We stopped at a beach at the base of the mountains and (of course) found more herds of brides getting their pictures taken on the beach (and their dresses wet and dirty which surprised me).
So overall we were definitely happy that we decided to make the trip to the mountain and, if nothing else, breathe some clean air.
Monday, October 10, 2011
After looking around the church for a few minutes we decided to go to Little Qingdao. Little Qingdao is an island (kind of, now it has a concrete pier leading out to it) a few hundred yards off the coast. It has a German made light house on it and is beautiful at sunset (as evident from the picture).
After we left Little Qingdao we stopped at a little restaurant 15 ft away from the ocean and got some fried clams (apparently a must try when in Qingdao( I think the clams we got, however, were steamed (or whatever you normally do to clams), though I'm not totally sure (they were good (not amazing)))).
Further up the mountain we found an observation post that was built buy the Germans around 1899. The rotating part of the post (on top) weighs about 6 tons.
Further down the mountain we came across the entrance to the entire underground bunker (of course we got charged to go in (only about a buck fifty though)). The bunker had living quarters, command posts, observation posts, escape hatches, a water supply, and all sorts of nifty things. The second picture is of me in the rotating observation post.
The Qingdao Battery Fort turned out to be super interesting and was one of my favorite tours (probably because we weren't expecting too much from it). The area doesn't even make the top 20 tourist spots in Qingdao.
On the second day, two fellow teachers joined up with me in Qingdao. We first went to a famous landmark in Qingdao which is a long pier with a pavilion at the end. I'm not completely sure why it is so famous but the pavilion is pictured on the Tsing-tao (very famous in China) beer bottle. This day was still during the holiday so the pier was absolutely packed with people
We then moved on to another famous landmark. I believe it is the St. Micheal's catholic church. The church was pretty neat, but what interested me more was the number of brides getting their pictures taken in front of the church. I took a picture that shows three posing for pictures, but in the whole square there had to be at least a dozen or more brides taking pictures or waiting for a spot. We were walking away later and were passed by a bus completely full of brides and grooms.
Several venders buy the ocean were selling a neat looking snack food, it had to be about four feet by three feet and more than a foot deep. It reminded me of a mix between a fruit cake (which I have never tried), granola bar, and a payday candybar. They made cool decorations on top of it with nuts and fruits. It seemed like mainly Muslim people were selling it (i'm not sure why that was).
There were tons of venders along the beach who were just plain annoying, they are especially bad during the holiday. There was a lot to see along the ocean. The next picture is a structure in the May 4th Square next to the sea. May 4th is the date when many in China rebelled against foreign influence in China after WWI. (I was by myself the first day so I had to resort to the self picture pose).
I think it is not so bad for the Chinese people because they can take up next to no room when the squat on the floor. I really couldn't manage to sit without being a roadblock. After a guy left, I managed to get a seat on a trash can. This was nice except people would make me move every few minutes so they could throw stuff away (probably those stuck up people that could afford seats). Eventually I managed to get about a half an hour of sleep on the can. I got to Qingdao around 9:00, checked in to my hostel and started touring the city.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I decided to learn how to cook (or at least put food together) this week. Here is my first attempt at salsa (before and after I mixed the ingredients together and added some ketchup). Its turned out surprisingly well. Its fun too because I can buy the veggies right off the street for super cheap and pretty fresh.
Edit* I'm not sure what happened with the font but it doesn't want to change.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
As a small side note, I weighed about 210 lbs before I left the US. Now food here is plentiful, delicious, and fatty; however, it is not my mom’s cooking. I think it would be cool for all my readers to guess my weight upon my return to the States (the winner receiving something special). I will guess 198 lbs. Everyone leave a comment on this post with your guess in it. (Pictured below is my lunch from this afternoon to provide a point of reference)
I am now getting myself moved into my apartment. The apartment is spacious enough for me but it’s going to take a lot of work to transform the barren walls into something homely. I am going to be mainly teaching junior level classes (I think 8th grade or so); I will have about 20 classes over a four day period. I also just found out that I will also be teaching two thirty minute kindergarten classes a week (which could be fun but also likely a madhouse. I sit in on a class today and begin teaching tomorrow. There are about 11,000 kids on the campus and it is hard to escape the constant buzz that arises from that many kids in such a small area. I can see the halls of a guy’s dorm from my room and during certain times it really looks like a busy ant farm.
Toward the end of the four hour trip from Beijing (next year a 1hr trip on the bullet train (whose billion (according to our driver) dollar track is currently under construction)) the tops of the massive apartment buildings appeared in the distant mist. These plain but giant building are awe inspiring in their own way. It struck me that living in one of these buildings must have a significant psychological effect on a person.