I felt bad for distracting them too, I had to keep pointing forward so they would pay attention. They're so peaceful in their other English class, but then again, I'm the crazy foreign teacher, the fun teacher, and I teach the one thing that's not on the gaokao. This means that I have both very energetic and enthusiastic students and students who don't care as much because English is already difficult and oral English is not part of the national exam. I have had to tell students repeatedly to put things back in their desks. I could be tougher, but I'd like to emphasize to my students that they decide their grades and choose their own behavior and consequences. That and knowing how much work they have, I'm not sure I am comfortable taking away their textbooks. Simply tapping their desks, looking at them until they focus, or motioning that they should put it back in their desk seems to be sufficient for keeping them alert all period. Especially this week. I had a lot of difficult behavior this week, but also a lot of participation due to my friend, the donut. This is really what drove participation this past week. Part of how I get around oddly pigmented powerpoints or computers that don't work is by drawing, coloring, cutting, and laminating (with tape) different objects. Not only can my students see what I am talking about, but they can hold them and they love that I bring these brightly colored things into their classes.
I'm sorry for not having photos as I originally intended, but I'm not comfortable bringing my camera into class. I'm sure my students would love photos, but I'm waiting until the end of the year for that. I also haven't traveled much so while I can easily get a few shots of things around my apartment without worrying about privacy or other issues, I really don't have much to show. I can tell you that there's a lot of building going on around me and I wonder if that contributes to the dust I see everywhere. I still haven't gone back behind my building enough to know if the Sheraton is in progress or if the sign near me is to let people know that a Sheraton is coming. But I think it's one of the signs of how much Zhuzhou is growing, changing, and opening up to the rest of the world: not only is this a hotel chain recognized abroad but that there are hotels here means that people not from Zhuzhou are coming to visit and take part in business or tourism.
I think I'm going to end here for today as I'm still fighting off something, need to get dinner going, and have to teach class on Sunday since the National Week break has changed my schedule somewhat. That and I'm going to an event held by the Zhuzhou govt. especially for foreigners and it will be a nicer event. I want to be at my best for that. There's a lot of schedule shuffling going on and it's made harder by the fact that as the foreign teacher who can't speak Chinese, I need to rely on my liaison to give me the information I need. I can't just attend meetings like the other teachers and get information about what's coming up. I wish I could, I'd love to be more involved as a real teacher would be, but that's not how I figure into the system at the moment. If at the very least I can get my students to say more than "Hello my name is", "I'm fine thanks. And you?", and "Good morning/afternoon" then I will be happy. I'll be happiest when I introduce them to a song or something and then I can tell them at the end of class that they now understand a song in English. That will be a source of pride for me if I can show them what they are capable of.