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What did I tell you? A spanner in the works all ready… Rocks and squalls. First, a little rock-et. I got this email on Wednesday.

hi, James!
English corner and lecture will begin from next week on. Foreign teachers are supposed to turn up for English cornner every Tuesday evening, and give lectures in turn on thursday enenings. Would you please prepare 4 lectures for this semester and send me the topics of the four lectures by this Friday so that I can make detailed arrangement .

My five days of leisure up in smoke. Now I only have four and three quarters… A bit of a bumpy day in class, also. It all started with a homework check. These days I generally give my class academic homework assignments and often no homework at all but last week I threw a curve ball. They had to all visit Ian's shoelace website and come into class with their shoes laced up differently to all other students. This was for their own personal amusement (it's a really cool website), to test their commitment and their teamwork, because they needed to communicate with each other to avoid duplication.

As far as I can tell, most of them arrived on Monday with all sorts of new and creative combinations of lacing but nobody told me. It's my fault I forgot to check, I agreed, but surely one student could have reminded me? I was a bit annoyed so I told them on Thursday morning (writing class) I'll do the homework check now. Some said they were wearing different shoes, I said tough. (Some had photos, that was ok). So I did the check and though Danny had done his he had the same as another student, so I didn't give him a mark for doing them. A rule of the homework: no duplication. Now I can understand this must have made Danny mad. He'd gone to all that trouble and been penalised on a technicality. As had 3 other students. And it was a bonkers homework assignment anyway. I did say that those students who were wearing different shoes could come in next week with the new fangled shoelaces and get the marks, except Joy, who said she didn't want to do it.

At this point, I've probably made a few enemies. Certainly Danny, who refused to close the book he was studying from.
"You are a rude boy," I said.
He said "And you?"
I replied "Yes I am sometimes, but that's not your problem."

It kind of is his problem, but my meaning, we only need concern ourselves with our own faults, not those of others.

So I sent him out and he left slamming the door. Meantime, I had noticed that Bella was in a foul mood. She sometimes gets like this because there is a communication barrier between us and she thinks I am trying to show her up in front of others.

I could be more sensitive. We made up via text exchange later and I said to Bella make a note of anything I do that upsets you in class, because she couldn't give any concrete examples.

Anyway, I taught the class the song 'Always look on the bright side of life', which lightened the mood a bit.

Then, in class 2, Sirena said she wanted to do 'nothing' for her coursework assignment. I don't think she realises that nothing = no marks. All the students have to complete a written assignment for a class magazine we are making. I welcomed suggestions from the students that were keen enough to make them. Celine said she wanted to do Bible stories. I said I can't do that, I'll get into trouble for promoting religion. She said it's ok, the stories are interesting. It's ok that it's ok with Celine but it probably won't be ok with everyone. A lot bubbles below the surface here.

Later, Randy, Joe, Johnson and I met for dinner. Joe said he wouldn't eat, I said I wouldn't (I don't have much money), Randy got a bit shirty about that but it was otherwise fine. Joe left early and the three of us had a nice conversation. I think Johnson wants to drop out the film. That means I am really relying on my Canadian friend coming next week and agreeing to play the role of Lloyd. It seemed like Joe was out the film for a while but he is back in now, I think. Russell is still good and I sent him some lines for a scene he is in.

Posted by safemouse 19:46 Archived in China

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