In Like a Lion

Thankfulness comes hard in February. Short days coupled with grey weather and (here, at least) lots of smog make it hard to think of anything but what you want to be different.

Perhaps that’s why they say March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb: it’s an apt description of how you feel at the beginning and end of this month. Thankfully, now that it’s March, things are starting to warm up, the sun’s coming out, and we even had a beautiful cloudless day today with the pollution at only 29! So maybe I’ll become more lamb-like quickly (don’t bet on it, though!). With school starting and lesson plans galore, plus rejection letters pouring in from everywhere, a change in the weather still isn’t helping this grumpy person much.
Still, I’m excited about this semester. I’m finally getting to teach actual EFL classes instead of College Composition adapted for non-native English speakers. It’s going to be so much more fun to talk about things like friendship and music and clothing in class instead of things like sentence writing or comma splices. Plus, there’s the added benefit of my students telling me (in their self-introductions to the class) how beautiful I am and what a cute smile I have. I can’t imagine any university student in America saying that to their teacher–can you? (Although of course I don’t mind.) Must be different cultural norms here!

So maybe now that March is getting its move on and it’s starting to get light in the mornings, I’ll get more creative inspiration and less moaning about how awful job searching is. It certainly can’t hurt that I won’t have time to fill out applications 24/7. If you have any ideas of blog posts you’d love to read from me (all 16 of you who read my blog), you can leave a note in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas!

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I Love Vacation

I know this sounds crazy, but school is starting soon. (Yeah, don’t mock me, all you US readers. I understand you’re about to do midterms now. Well, China’s DIFFERENT!) I’m going to have to give up my life of leisure applying for jobs and filling out forms that I’m convinced were invented by someone with a diabolical imagination (sequel to the Screwtape letters right there) and going to Chinese class and tutoring in the afternoons and suck it up and actually work. On my four (4!) classes per week, that I’m hoping will have almost no homework to grade. Sounds pretty miserable, doesn’t it? I hope the tears of pity are dripping down your face right now.

It’s pretty bad that I have no idea how much homework these classes will have–and I’m one week away from starting to teach them. I don’t even know the textbook we’re supposed to use yet. But that’s China for you: keep you on the seat of your pants, they do, and only tell you things when you’re getting mildly nervous about what’s going to happen and what you’re going to teach and wondering if-anyone-shows-up-to-your-classroom-what-are-you-going-to-tell-them and will-they-all-think-I’m-a-confused-American-teenager-that-wandered-into-their-classroom-by-mistake. (Last time, a couple of my students said they wondered if I was one of their classmates. Good for inspiring confidence, that! I should figure out this “mature look” better, I guess.)

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You know you’re not very mature when you still take selfies, right?

But by the time class starts, I will know what I’m supposed to teach, and I will have a textbook. They’re being extra kind this semester and giving us our syllabus and information a total of two days before the semester starts. Two whole days.

So excuse me while I make the most of my break here–you can imagine me lying on the beach reading my favorite book or touring around China seeing the Great Wall and everything else.

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Oh yeah, that’s where I’ll be. Where it’s sunny and warm.

Imagine me there, because in reality, I’ll be planning lessons for my one-on-one students this week and filling out more job application forms while my brain begins to scream in protest. I vacation in style.