Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catching Up: What makes someone a real teacher?

OK now that we've gotten health care out of the way, I can talk more about Taiwan. 

Sunday we had a girls' day. A bunch of us got on the bus to Taipei around 11 a.m. and eventually made it to Pinglin by 1:30 p.m. 

There was an incredible amount of traffic.

Pinglin is a sleepy little town in the mountains that is supremely proud of its tea. They have a tea museum and all over the place there are decorative teapots: teapot lamp posts, teapots on railings, teapot carvings. It was adorable.

It's also gorgeous. We hiked around a terraced tea field and there were some great views. I also walked around in the ecological park (think fancy name for garden). 

Unfortunately my camera is still out of commission (pending receipt of a package currently in route from my mother) and no one else has posted pictures for me to steal — I mean borrow with credit — just yet.

Originally we were supposed to go mountain biking but we got there a little later than planned and couldn't find the biking place so we just went with hiking.

Afterward, the girls and I hung out in Taipei. We met up with some people that we met on St. Paddy's Day at the same pub we had been at that night.

It's funny how great our group is at making friends. We make friends everywhere we go.

That said, I almost strangled a woman who boasted about her teaching credentials from the United States and how she teaches in public school in Taoyuan. She had the audacity to say I'm not a real teacher because I teach at a buxiban. 

I admit that sometimes I feel like an over-glorified babysitter, but those kids learn whether they realize they're doing it or not and they respect me just as much as their teachers in regular school. Well, most of them do anyway.

It was just incredibly rude of her to say. Simply put: I hope I don't see her around Taoyuan.

Since we had such a full day on Sunday I ended up sleeping all day Monday and didn't think Monday night at school was going to be very good, but somehow I ended up with all this energy and I was dancing and singing around the classroom. 

The kids like it when I do that because they think I'm crazy.

Then today was a super busy day. I didn't think I was going to get everything done.

I had my outside class at the junior high and they were hilarious. We were learning about shopping for clothes today and so I had them do a role play at the end of class where one student was a sales assistant and the others were buying from them. 

Several students chose to go with more risque purchases than I would have expected. 

Here was my favorite:

Pendy: Hello! May I help you?
Jimmy: Yes, I would like to buy something very sexy.
Pendy: Oh yes, well what would you like? We have a sexy nurse costume, a rabbit girl costume or a devil costume.
Jimmy: Oh I'm not sure. Tonight... Well... Tonight is going to be my first time so I want it to be very special. 
Pendy: Oh yes! Well then I recommend the rabbit girl costume. Your girlfriend will like it very much. 
Jimmy: OK, how much is it?
Pendy: It is 20 percent off, so that makes it 20,000NTD.
Jimmy: OK, I'll take it.

I'll take this opportunity to remind you that 20,000NTD is about $600USD. That's one very expensive first time.

Anyway, teaching 14-and-15-year-olds can be pretty hilarious. 

Then I had my demo with my wonderful babies class. They did so well and I was so proud of them. That said, I can't decide if it was actually that great of a demo. 

There's more energy on a regular class day than there was during the demo. I wonder if maybe they were nervous or afraid they would get into trouble if they seemed energetic. Or maybe I just wasn't energetic enough for them.

Finally, I started to burn out about half-way through my last class and went over the edge around the time one of my students asked me if I'm pregnant. 

I have not put on that much weight. Maybe five pounds, if that. 

That said, the dress I was wearing today is baggy and kind of bowls out just above my belly. The idea is that it hides your rolls, but I can see how it would just make you look fat. Either way, that made me feel a bit self conscious.

Damn kids and their honesty.

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