So, i was putting this off. Not for any good reason, either. I mean, I'm sitting in a Cybercafe, it would be just as easy for me to write a blog post as it is for me to watch the latest episode of Bleach, or catch up on my MegaTokyo, but I don't. It might be that I haven't been feeling well lately, or it might be that I just want to teleport to a Subway, get some food, and then come back to China (I so blame Shannon for that one).
I'm not homesick by any means, just tired.
Let me tell you why my job is tiring.
I am a teacher. Do I really need to elaborate? Inspite of it being unneccesary to do so, I will do so. Why? Because I still have about 1 yuan worth of time left on this computer, and enough yuan in my money pouch to keep me here for the next 3 years.
I teach 24 classes a week. The school we're at requested 3 teachers. They got 2. We're picking up the slack. All of it. Most other teachers here teach 16 classes. 1 or 2 teach 20. Shannon and I are the lucky ones. At least, that's what they tell us. Jacob Harlan (our boss) told us that he was glad that it was us. I take it as a compliment, but not without some trepidation.
When I say I teach 24 classes per week, I mean that I teach the same lesson 24 times per week. 24 of the same "repeat-after-me's", sight gags, explanations, chalkboard etchings, etc. This job would still be tiring if for nothing other than the sheer quantity of classes.
Each class has about 60-70 kids in it, ranging from 13-15 years old. There's one kid in there who says he is 18, but I think that he just doesn't speak English. But he was pretty big. A whopping 5'10".
Each class is grouped by test scores and over-all ability to learn. This system is good, but flawed. The flaw lies in the lack of separation by discipline. Each class stays in the same room, and the teachers are the ones who rotate. This makes consistent visual aides entirely dependent on chalk-board skills. (Let me just say, "I HATE CHALK!!") The lack of disciplinary division creates a severely varied range of skills. The students in my class are the 1st of 3 years taught here. Some have better English than people in Utah/Idaho (not meaning to offend, but I will not take that back if I do). Most have none. They can say, "Hello," and, "Bye-bye," but that's the limit of it. Every kid in the school has taken it upon himself to greet me as I walk past. I'll come back to that word, "Hello."
Now, try to entertain 60-70 kids of varing interests and levels of intelligence with no books, no worksheets, no puzzles, relatively few game options, and little if any English ability. It's lame. Really, really lame. We don't even have suggestions for lesson material. It's not easy to just pull something out of your hat that will entertain for 45 minutes at a time. It's even harder to make something like that work for 24 times, and even more-so not to get so sick of it you could spit.
So, I'm tired. I'm recovering, but I'm tired. Our water is back on again. (It was only for 1 day this time.) We have almost zero water pressure, but at least it's some, right?
Now, I'm about to rant about something most people will not understand....
I hate the word, "Hello." I got it for 2 full years in Argentina. To hear it here.... Nails on the blackboard would be more welcomed. Really. Only someone who has been exposed to it every day for 2 years would understand just how loathesome a simple word like, "Hello," can become. Shannon told me that she kind of likes it. I told her that when I was in Argentina, I did, too. For all of about 1 month. Here, it's way worse. I mean, I can't walk on campus without a rolling chorus of "Hello's" tumbling after me. I know hate is a strong word. Honestly, though, I don't think it cuts it. It's not something you get used to. It's something that gets really, really old. I don't think you know just how old until you get it all day, every day.
So, there you go. The rant is finished. So is this post. I have more time on the computer, but really have other things I ought to be doing. Or would like to be doing. Or could possibly be doing.
Thanks for reading, peeps.