now this post ain’t nothin’ about mc hammer, so if that was the hook for you, i suggest jumpin’ off now.
i’m more in the realm of the metaphorical hammer. the metaphorical hammer i so tangibly dropped on my class today. What you all need to understand is that my thursday class of sophs came into school last year with the highest english ability relative to my other sections of kids. and for the most part, they had maintained this gap in english ability. but this semester, as each week passes by, they’ve been slowly evolving into lil’ sh%t heads. not all of them! but some of them have actually made me a little frustrated at their behavior and effort, something I didn’t know i was even capable of feeling. (keep in mind that my last teaching experience was with adorable, yet off the wall 5-6th graders from inner city Washington DC)
but they just have been complacent, lackadaisical, and just plain rude to one another. and today just kind of put me over the edge. so for the last 5 minutes of class, i just was 100% straight up with them. I told them that the other classes have improved SO much more than them. That they are slipping. That they are falling way below my expectations for them and that I know they are capable of so much more. That they are the only class I have to shush constantly when their classmates are speaking, the only class where i see phones out in plain sight, the only class where i feel like the effort level is below average. i told them that if next week, the same behavior continues, that i’m just going to start kicking kids out of class. i told them that they need to stop acting like children and assume their role as responsible college students, that if you don’t want to learn english, that’s not my problem and that i’m not going to let some apathetic students rob their eager classmates of a chance to learn. it may have been a little harsh. a little too direct. but they needed to hear it.
and from the reaction i got, it sounds like they got the message. but, that cursory glance and accompanying feeling will either be confirmed or disconfirmed next week.
in other news, showed the kiddos toy story for movie night today. that movie always delivered and we had like 65 kids fill up the room for class. you get a warm feeling when you convene a bunch of your students together to laugh, and gasp, and smile. good times.
oh and tomorrow is november 15th. 0_o
another day another government stipend dollar.
Dear Yao Ming,
Thank you for a really cool moment at school today. If it weren’t for you, a simple feel good moment that transpired for me today would not have been realized.
Without your incredible (an often underrated) work in serving as perhaps one of the most influential ambassadors in history of the sport of basketball, I wouldn’t have casually walked into a often frequented rice noodle shop on campus to the owner watching a double OT game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. While by no means a marquee match-up, my face lit up at the prospect of watching basketball over bowl of hot noodles.
while the boss man had to go back and forth serving customers, I’d keep him updated on what was happening in the game and then we’d huddle around the little laptop screen (with a surprisingly good streaming quality) and shout at the TV when someone made a bonehead play, pat each other on the back and smile when james harden and jeremy lin made great driving lay-ups to close out the game, and cringe and “oooh” when rudy gay barely missed a tip back off his own miss.
not to mention, noodle man is always one of the sweetest people on campus, always beaming me a big smile. glad we had a chance to share a simple, but fun and interactive passing moments during our otherwise diverging days. a moment where instead of fleetingly smiling at each other, we were able to smile with each other.
so yeah, to be honest Yao, I kind of forgot about you as I continued to write this post. I actually am kind of using you as a gimmick to make the intro to my post more interesting so that maybe someone will read it.
if it’s possible to not have a filter during a deliberate act like typing a blog post, I have some how achieved that task.
but really, thanks yao. you’re a good dude. couldn’t have done it without you.
ps. let me know if you’re ever in kaili, we could use you on the teachers’ team next week. cool.
as another week passes by… i thought i’d jot down a few quirky/sweet/memorable moments of the past few days:
1. Trigg, Nat, Dee, and I went to the Dong and Miao minority market in Kaili about a half a year back (gulp.) during that time, i went as a humble observer, as nat and trigg looked to pick up some trinkets for loved ones back home (assumedly. assuming that they loved them that is.) But, i found this wicked cool iron ring that i was willing to fork over 20 yuan for. fortunately, my trusty kaili local Dee was there and she looked at me with a look that all so simply said: “you’d pay 20 yuan for this junk?”
and i of course telepathically let her know that, yes, i would indeed pay 20 yuan for it. she got it down to 8 yuan. chump shri was pleased.
anyhow, its a groovy ring, and back in september i seemed to have misplaced it. actually… come to think of it… where is it now…. BUT, i digress. so i lost it, and then last week I’m at my favorite dishes joint, and my favorite gramps comes over to me and is like “yo yung homie, this ring i’m wearing. i’m pretty sure it’s yours” and i was like “oh snap you right, but you keep it!”
following our hip social interaction, he returned the ring despite my imploring him to hold on to it. i guess now, i just have a little bit of my favorite gramps spirit with that ring… if i can find it..
2. today in class, I had my kids writing a pretty simple dialogue. one of my most eager students, a dude named Jones, innocently asks for my help.
"hey mr. shri, i want to start my dialogue by saying hello to lucy. can i say hey my broad?"
to which i naturally said… well i said nothing but i sure as hell grinned and cooly explained that probably wasn’t what he was going for. maybe he was, but mr. shri don’t got no time for impoliteness. ya digg??
3. i’m at the gym a pretty steady amount, and the head trainer, Kuang, and I have become pretty tight. he’s a gigantic, jacked chinese brotha who either hugs me, picks me up, or slaps me on the behind every time he sees me. we call each other brothers in chinese and I think I may have to start teaching him to call me “bro”. it just seems like the next natural progression.
the cool thing about kuang is that he’s always comin’ and chillin with me just as a friend and picking my brain as to how he can learn some important english phrases to use if more foreigners come to the gym. I swear its his own internal desire and its one of the truest, organic moments of cultural exchange when we are teaching each other words simply out of curiosity and as a stronger foundation for our conversations. to Kuang, I’m Song Laoshi (teacher song: song is my chinese family name) and i’m known to address the homie as kuang laoshi as well. cool little things worth noting, and being thankful for.
hope you all are doing it big worldwide. keep your chin up and keep moving alongside me and everybody else.