Time for the weekly update! Well, this past week has been storms and blue skies. We’re still enjoying nice days in Zhuzhou but I spent half the week anxious, frustrated and angry with myself. By Thursday, I finally accepted that my lessons weren’t total garbage, that normally when I kill off the part of myself that chases some vague notion of “good enough” I’m happier, and I allowed myself to sleep well and get a burger at McDonalds at 10PM (where they now offer Jasmine green tea soft serves). We only had Sunday off this week as part of making up classes after the weeklong break. I taught my Wednesday classes on Saturday and had to find something for them to do when I came back again on Wednesday. Then I heard that my one of my Wednesday classes was moved to Monday morning and I had to come up with a whole new lesson plan on Sunday. I panicked and stayed up until 4 AM feeling unprepared. Then I got to the classroom, and found out that the head teacher had changed plans without telling either the liaison or me. So I didn’t actually have to be there, and the students didn’t know why I was there. Sometimes I wonder if people just really like making me look like a fool, even when I know it was an innocent mistake…I was exhausted and a bit annoyed but I had time to relax in the office before going to one of my more difficult classes. I've been beating myself up and feeling pretty low. So I emailed the field director listing off the things that made me feel miserable. Once I sent the email, the clouds parted and I was in a better position to judge what I was doing well. It also helps that my site mate came back on Thursday after being away with his classes on a school trip. I think it’s incredible that he’s so hardworking and strikes me as a pretty balanced person. He knows when to relax as well as work, and he looks after his health better than I do too. I could learn from that.
We finally started English Drama club too. I’m not sure that the teachers are planning to have students do a play anymore. I asked and got “whatever you and the kids want” as an answer. Hopefully, they won’t ask me to put on a performance at the last minute. The students also looked startled that this was a drama club. A lot of them just wanted to watch movies and play games in English. I would love to show them “The Princess Bride” or some other classic films. They already know “Titanic” and “Forrest Gump”. Anytime I call on a kid named “Jack” someone inevitably shouts “Rose! You jump! I jump!” Everyone seems interested in dubbing but not so much in making a movie or doing a play. I’m sure it’ll take shape in time.
I just realized that I missed my weekly post goal last week, but there honestly hasn’t been much to write about. October 1-7 was our national week break and I thought I’d go to Zhangjiajie or Fenghuang, but I waited too long on tickets and decided I may as well just relax for the week and stay put. Then I thought Shaoshan and Mao’s house would make a nice trip. Then that fell through too, partly because I spent a good part of my break enduring wave after wave of colds that I know I got from my students. I can say this because I was sneezing and actually had to wipe off my arm in the middle of my last class before break while my class was coughing. My first day of break was worse. I was a mess and had a fever too. I found that I had stashed away ibuprofen a year ago that was still good so that helped with the fever. Then the coughing started around Friday and Saturday. I kept promising myself I’d go on Monday or Tuesday (and the crowds would probably be down by that point to) but slept in on Monday and Tuesday and found I could still get pretty warm and feverish when I overexerted myself.
Today? I got up early feeling much better than I had in a while, but knowing that trains and buses back to Zhuzhou or Changsha are limited, decided to save myself some stress. I’ll just book a room, stay a night, and make a short weekend trip of it. I could probably do it in a day if it’s just Mao’s house but I know how slow I am and that I’d rather have a day of not worrying about being stranded and seeing it all. I also don’t want to flare up too far from my apartment.
Otherwise, it’s been chicken soup, almost an entire jar of Tesco honey, lemon slices, hot chocolate, fruit, drinking the broth at the pulled noodle place, drinking tea, drinking water, and drinking all kinds of things that I hoped would finally put an end to this miserable congested time. I’m still coughing some, but it’s not the like the first half of break when I wondered how I would ever get to sleep if I was this blocked up. I also get an extra day of rest since the 8th graders are all testing, but I’m still going to get up and see if I need to lead English drama club. The students seem to know who got in (though I don’t) and are asking me where we meet (which I don’t know). I’ve set aside some index cards so they can write about themselves and I can use that as reference for the future when I’m figuring out what they want from this club.
So this week’s post is 500 words of nothing and I’m really sorry it’s not more exciting. I’ll get to Shaoshan soon!
I'm a 3rd year WorldTeach volunteer.