A lapse in contentment

This week I’ve been in a rather sour mood.

I’m tired from work. I’m tired from school. I have insomnia born from boredom and apathy, which contributes more to my discontent with work and school.

I have a starving feeling, and I just realized what it is.

I haven’t done much intellectual for a few months now.

It’s weird — I came to China to get a better education, but I’m finding that the education here is not up to my standards. It’s all about memorization, there’s no creativity, and most of my teachers expect students to be lazy, so they have no standards. I’m bored already. Back home I was delving into complex literary theory and discussing the intricacies of word placement in classical Chinese texts. Here I’m memorizing vocabulary.

The most valuable learning I’ve done here has been outside the classroom, in markets and on trains and atop mountains.

I think I’ll crack open a English book tonight and take a run tomorrow. Both my mind and body feel sludgey and undefined.

Shaping young, privleged minds

I started my teaching job on Saturday. Yes, I work the weekends, which I’m not so pleased about. BUT, it’s a really good opportunity. I’m teaching elective conversational English classes at the Experimental School attached to BNU, which is among the top middle and high schools in China.

My Saturday class starts at 8:50 a.m. (oof) and is an hour-and-a-half long. It has three students, three girls and a boy who are all between 11 and 13. My Sunday class is from 10:30 to noon and has six students — four girls and two boys — who are all about 12 except for one tiny nine-year-old girl. Every single student is very smart and their English is pretty advanced. I’m not supposed to speak Chinese during class and they do a very good job following along even when the whole lesson is in English. The students are actually so bright that it’s challenging thinking of games and activities to keep them busy — just following the book doesn’t cut it.

I also have two classes during the week from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with one student. I start that class tomorrow, and I expect it to be intense. I heard that my student plans to go abroad to the US for high school, so he must be quite smart and motivated to work hard and fast, so I don’t know what to expect yet from him.

The job can be challenging, but I think it will be a good experience. I’ve never had to teach children — or really deal with children — before.