stormy1x2: Ruthie babushka dog (Default)
Grade 5 pics and stories:

Image heavy, memory-laden SAP under the cut.... )

Grade 4's and 3's to be posted eventually.

stormy1x2: Ruthie babushka dog (Default)
You know, I had to actually stop myself from writing this earlier. 'Cause anything I wrote was gonna be tinged with an angry red haze, and well, my language kinda hits the gutter and keeps going down when I'm less than happy with the general world.

Yesterday's demo? Went off without a hitch. Which, in my mind, is some kind of goddamned miracle considering it took an hour and a half to coax my terrified kids into coming along. Were they scared of performing in front of 200 people? Well, if I go by their enthusiastic response from the day before, then no. They've done these kinds of demos a thousand times. They've done them on TV, in front of crowds OVER 200, in front of photographers, family members, government officials and foreigners from all over the world.

They were terrified of their teacher. Specifically, their Chinese home-room teacher.

We were supposed to leave at 1:00. I was outside waiting, they weren't. I got a call from  H at 1:15 and she told me there was a problem and she was coming down to discuss it. When she arrived, she told me that the demo was still on, but now the kids didn't want to go to it. Frankly, I was stunned. These kids LOVE to perform.

"Mandy," J added, looking troubled. "Kitty and Happy were crying."

Okay. I stormed past them and headed upstairs with my entourage of office people/ The kids were brought out and we went into another room to discuss what was going on. Apparently, their Chinese teacher had THREATENED and INTIMIDATED them into saying they didn't want to go.

The Chinese staff from the office went first and talked to them calmly. Kitty was sitting off to the side, tears pouring down her face. She was dead white from fear. I told her to come sit with me and she grabbed my hand like it was a freaking lifeline. what the hell happened?

Apparently the teacher had yelled at them, threatened them with negative marks or comments on their end of the year reports, all because they were going to miss her class for the day. And for what? Because MY classes are nothing, because this demo was all about making money for the company, and apparently nothing at all to do with the fact that they are our star students and their PARENTS were THRILLED to have their kids go along.

I was livid. And the office person wasn't helping - using a gentler approach but essentially still guilt-tripping them - "We really hope you can come, we planned this for you, we need you," etc, etc. I cut her of and told everyone to get out. The kids were discussing it amongst themselves, and we - the office - were going to talk to the Headmaster again(who apparently had no idea what was going on) and we offered a private tutor for them to make up the classes they would miss (using my class time tomorrow and on Monday).

I almost left too but  the kids asked me to stay and talk to them. They were scared - absolutely terrified that their teacher would take it out on them if they chose to go. Apparently she said that if they went, they would not be welcome in her class anymore. Emotional blackmail for the fucking win, y/n?

Long story short, there was more tears, many comforting hugs offered, reassurances given, and my personal assurances that nothing they chose to do would ever make me upset. If they decided not to go because of their teacher, then they would stay behind with my full support and blessing. To hell with the company and everyone else.

These kids are under intense pressure and this was just one more thing added to the pile and I could just THROTTLE their homeroom teacher. The parents had given the trip the green light. The headmaster had originally said yes when we told him about it 3 weeks ago. The kids wanted to go. The office wanted it. Everyone was in full support except her, and she punished THEM for it.

The kids had nothing to do with it. WE were the ones who arranged the whole thing. If the homeroom teacher was 'so concerned' for her students as she claimed, she should have made her complaints to ME or the company, or the headmaster. You. Do. NOT. Emotionally blackmail CHILDREN for something over which they have little to no control. Only VERY STUPID PEOPLE do this. And if you are exceptionally stupid, well then, you do it in front of ME.

The kids talked it out together  - a brainstorming session that astonished the people there (H told me later she was stunned at the way they were talking it out together and working out a solution they could all live with. She said she could definitely see bits of ME in their speech (Chinese, but still) and that usually Chinese kids just do as their told, not negotiating like they were) and mutually decided to do the demo, have the catchup sessions with the tutor, and basically stand together against her.

In LinAn they had a good time, they beat the high school students in their verbal tennis match, and their debate was a tie, which made me very happy. I didn't see them today, but I will tomorrow, and I intend to make sure that their teacher hasn't done anything to them.

I can't get over how pathetically SAD this situation is. I had a few teachers I didn't particularly like in high school (especially the one that made the snide comment about me apparently having no life because I like to read history books), but never EVER did I fear any of them - especially at the level I saw yesterday. Teachers were always at the back of my head as a safe haven - if you needed help as a last resort, or even as a first resort if you were so lacking. What I saw yesterday both enraged me and broke my heart.

But you know, as much as I want to drop kick Miss Pang off the side of the school building, a very small part of me wishes to thank her. After what I saw, I solemnly vow I will never, EVER put my students into a situation like that. I will strive not to guilt-trip or blackmail them and will encourage them to always do what they think is best for themselves first. And I will NEVER hold it against them if they are pressured by others to do something negative to what I say or do - at the very LEAST, i want to be someone they can confide in, and make sure they know there is at least one teacher who is always on their side. 

I will be seeing most of these kids in my Saturday advanced class next year, but even those I don't have, DO have my email address. What is common for us in North America - being able to go to an authority figure for help - is something very lacking here. Parents exact huge amounts of pressure for their kids to be the best. Teachers threaten them. The police don't give a damn.  I didn't think much of Kitty coming to me and grabbing my arm as hard as she could - I was upset at the sight of her trying not to bawl in front of the group - but again, apparently students just don't do that in China, and the fact that my kids felt so comfortable with me that they were able to let down their guard (even with strangers there) was just unheard of.

Which explains why teenage suicide rates are still so high here.

I think I still have a lot of work to do here.


May. 30th, 2009 02:50 pm
stormy1x2: Ruthie babushka dog (Default)
Finally started getting some more videos uploaded to Facebook. ;D

Shaoxing: Videos taken during the time of the Demo from Hell (TM).

Video 1 - we're in the car, the kids are insane, and Hallen tries desperately to convince us she's actually going to do better than last place in her video game. Which, for the record, has never, and will never happen. :D

Video 2 - on the pedicab with Happy! Happy is always fun to chat with, especially when you're being cycled around town.

More video under the cut. )
stormy1x2: Ruthie babushka dog (Default)
  • wash the dishes
  • finish the laundry
  • mop the floors (desperately needed)
  • de-clutter kitchen table and the floor
  • finish review lesson plan for tests this week
  • conduct 80 oral tests
  • finish marking those damn report cards (80 of 120 due this week  I got a reprive! Not due until June 14th!!!)
  • live demo in Shaoxing w/Paddy and the kids this Friday
  • finish lesson plan for next Sunday's writing classes (2) (9:15 to 11:15)
  • finish lesson plan for Saturday's classes (Qingpu, 7am-2pm)
  • pick up more pots and soil (reimbursed) for class
  • pick up copy of 'Sister Act 2' to show kids samples of pop/gospel music
Just spent an hour putting together a pc presentation for tomorrow's grade 4 class. We're learning about the world and the people in it, so they get to try new ethnic foods, and play games that come from other countries. They fill info in on a chart, like the name of the countries, the continent it's on, the languages they speak, what the people are called, draw a pic of their flag, point it out on a map, and for food, they describe the taste, the appearance etc. They love it because it's such a hands-on, tactile lesson, but it means double the work for me. >.< Especially since tomorrow they get to sample rice krispie squares. Which means I have to make them. I thought about doing it tonight but In no longer care about it. I'll do it in the morning - I don't teach until 2:00, and RKS's set in less than 30 minutes. ;D

I doodled this in between classes the other day as a thank you for <lj user="eliyes"> and colored it/posted it last night on the <lj user="ricstar"> comm. She wrote me Teddy Bear fic for my Rictor pic 'Apology.' You can check out the pic and read the story here.] But as I was saing, here is the pic I did in return:

She wanted Tabitha, by crikey, she shall HAVE Tabitha. :D  I'd feel sorry for Sunspot, but I never did like Roberto.

Live demo this Friday. Hallen called me last night and said she couldn't go because of a meeting her teacher wanted her to attend on Friday. She wanted to know if we could reschedule. Yes, we're going to cancel a demo planned two weeks ago, reschedule all the teachers who booked Friday off to attend, and shuffle our schedules around just for you. I love this kid, really, but the world does not revolve around her, no matter HOW good her English is, and I told her flat out if she couldn't go, I was gonna bring Kitty. She was aghast at the thought of being replaced. and said she'd check with her mom and her teacher. She confirmed today she can go. I knew she would. Brat.

My head aches from two hours of mind-numbing research for theg G4's and trying to reformat the mangled mess that is the oral test J sent me in .rar format  - which my computer grinned gleefully at, gulped it down and threw it up at me filled with binary code and weird symbols I don't recognize.  .doc, office, .DOC. THIS is what my computer can read. Away from me with .rar files!

I managed to get two more pics outlined - one of our classes today was rescheduled, meaning YAY, 35 MINUTE BREAK. I doodled. I do this a lot.  They shall be posted on my dreamwidth fanfic/fanart account located here, on the off-chance anyone is interested. :D  And on <lj user="ricstar"> too, of course.

Am full from dinner. Mmmm, gnocchies. They are my new favorite food now.  Early bed, I think. :D

stormy1x2: Ruthie babushka dog (Default)
About a month ago, I was offered the chance to design a creative writing/art class hybrid. Design it myself, anything I wanted to do, all materials provided for (ANYTHING at all), and just do it.

Because it's new, I only had 3 students show up for today's test run. if the parents like it, they sign up for a full course. I got paid for today, but it was essentially a free class.

All the parents LOVED it, the kids didn't want to leave, and all of them signed up for the course. The American lady (whose son was a real hoot during class!) said she'd recommend MY course to other parents, to have them come out and give it a try. ^^

I feel so... accomplished. :D  Granted this now means I officially now have no days off (still working Saturdays in Qingpu for the next 6 weeks), but I don't even care. The classrooms are gorgeous, my every whim is indulged, no one stands over me and marks on my performance... it's seriously my own little class, my own world where I don't have to follow anyone's textbook or outline except my OWN. I LOVE IT.

And seriously, I need to post pics of the school. It's so beautiful. ^^

February 2013

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