Swine flu relocation!

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
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13
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of China  , Anhui,
Thursday, May 30, 2013

The end of the school year was always a slow death, however as a student you were forced to attend, and once the weather truly got hot in Minnesota you knew it was about time to get out of Dodge. Here at my current school in China, where the school year lasts until mid-July and they give random, chaotic "holidays" intermingled with 12-14 day work periods, the end of the school year as a teacher is pure hell.  You have two extremes that compete inside your mind, the desire to continue teaching and have valuable class experiences juxtaposed with an entirely unpredictable schedule and the Chinese predilection for interminably long periods of studying for tests, i.e. memorizing things and not giving a crap about anything new or fun you may be trying to accomplish in class.  Couple these things with the fact that I'm leaving this city and this school, and you end up with an extremely unmotivated and slightly disheartened Andy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still take my position as a teacher seriously, but it seems no one else does any more.  Lately all these little turds care about is studying for the SAT, which is tomorrow, thank God, and at times I’ve had kids get up and walk out of a class I had planned so they could sit in the empty room next door and study or cook meth or something.  The very worst part is something I experienced as a mid-level manager in the past, the expectation upon you to maintain discipline and order, but absolutely no power from above to do so.  In fact, here I am regularly undercut in my attempts to control kids and discipline them by the very administration that requires I keep things interesting when they want me to.  A case in point was with one particular class and one particular head teacher in which one week I was showing a historical documentary about the American Revolution and he came in to ask if there was any need to watch this (junk) and another time when I was planning an activity about poetry and he came in and told me to just let them study.  So, why the hell am I here?  In fact in many ways there is simply no alternative than to allow kids to study when they wish, regardless of whether I have something planned in class or not.  They simply leave the class, and in the end I have no power because the grades I assign will simply be changed.

I hate to be so pessimistic about the situation here, but that is how it truly is.  I simply cannot understand why a system works like this, and by that I mean HOW CAN it work?

On to brighter things.  After a wonderfully uneventful birthday weekend (I couldn't even go to the museum, it’s only open about 4 hours a day weekdays) I have now less than two months left and soon my parents will be arriving for a fantastic Tour de China!  We have an aggressive and exciting itinerary and I am primed and pumped… to be chauffeured around.  Only joking, it’s gonna be epic.  There will be lots of pictures, I may even bring this crate so I can write whilst we drift lazily down the Yangtze.

Recently I was in another town to the south of my current Jinan locale called Hefei.  It’s quite to my excitement that I shall soon be calling that town home.  No more water-less days and 6 story climbs encumbered by 5 gallon jugs of water, 5 potatoes, a carton of yogurt and a 2 liter of Sprite.  Now I shall have water all the time and an ELEVATOR!  Apparently at my new school they are no longer contracting apartments, you simply choose your own, and they have NO on campus housing!  Joy of joys!  I freakin’ hate living on school grounds!  (Not to mention, my new principal actually speaks English)  So I’m bidding Jinan a not so sorrowful goodbye and looking forward to more challenges (arranging my own housing, moving, commuting to work) as well as a different city to explore.  I’m still set on getting a motorcycle by the way.  Oh and about the title, the recent bout of swine flu came straight outta Anhui Province WHILE I was there =]
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