china · daily life

Daily Life in Huadu, Guangzhou #4

I had a fun day of teaching; a very playful group, my students have become.

We were discussing the use of prefixes to negate a words meanings, that is to say, polite to impolite. Naturally, this within itself holds little substance, so it was taught under the guise of Western etiquette.

At GDCP, the students are allowed a break after an hour. Some teachers ignore it and continue with their lessons. Being lazy, I shutdown during these five minutes. I will, and quite suddenly, shout, “WC!” when the bell sounds. I shall repeat this over and over before settling down, often chattering with one of the nearby fifty while I wait for the bell to sound once more. It makes me feel like a boxer.

Some students take their time returning. One girl actually had the gall to idle for twenty minutes AFTER the allotted five before returning, this being some weeks before. While it is not wise to disrupt a lesson due to the arrival of latecomers, I felt the need to tell her, and to explain to the class, “I was worried you had fallen in!”

Lateness should be dealt some form of punishment.

In any case, we were discussing why various behaviors were rude, one such behavior being arriving late to a meeting. As luck would have it, one of the more diligent and talkative (I say this as a positive) students returned from the break at this moment (some five minutes late).

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“Arriving late,” I repeated, swirling about to face her. She looked at me wide-eyed, an anxiety wrought smile characteristic of the Chinese spreading across her face. “Late,” I repeated, dragging out the words. The class, full of laughter, joined in my chorus of “late.”

“Why,” I asked with great emphasis, “do you think,” I repeated, the words heavy as lead, “arriving laaaate,” I asked, swirling around to face the latecomer once more, “is ruude?”

This behavior is typical of me and not altogether a surprise to my students, hence their rather unsuspected (though entirely welcomed) chorus of late. As the lesson continued, and we discussed what being late implied, I would swirl about to face the girl, who was doubtlessly humiliated, after someone provided me with a satisfactory answer.

“When you arrive late, it implies you do not care about the meeting.” Cue the swirl. “Or the lesson.”

It should be noted that I am on very good terms with the student in question. I would not have played such a game if she was not such an energetic soul. After working with the class, I believe I have safely classified the students into those I can embarrass and those I cannot.

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As the lesson continued, and we ventured into vocabulary, I continued with this impish behavior, explaining to the class how, “I am formal, look at my tie, but Charlie,” a look of disgust, “he is informal.” I continued with the vocabulary, which the students had already provided me, and said, “I am… unsatisfied with this class.” Cue gasps of exaggeration and why‘s. “But you are satisfied with the teacher.”

And the students, with laughter, revolted, “no, no, no.”

With a smile, I quieted the class. We continued with the vocabulary, reaching important and unimportant. To my utter surprise, for one forgets that students can disobey the teacher, when I led the class in, “you are unimportant, but I am important,” the students said the opposite. When I pointed to myself, they chorused, without any semblance of planning or foresight, unimportant! Themselves they labeled as important!

After some laughter, for I was quite taken aback, though jolly, we moved onto respectful. Naturally, after calling their teacher unimportant I led the class in, “you are disrespectful,” but, once more they overrode me! and chorused respectful!

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This phenomena waned as we continued and new vocabulary was introduced, the word being appropriate. After showing them, to some laughter and surprise, what is an inappropriate way to teach, I asked them, pointing to various students, if “sleeping during class was appropriate”, “talking with a friend”, “reading books”, ect. There was some muted call of appropriate, but the sillies had left them by then.

All in all, a good day. Afterwards, I thought about doing something with She Plays with Corpses, but fell asleep before I had even written five words.


3 thoughts on “Daily Life in Huadu, Guangzhou #4

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