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Archive for October, 2010

Remember how much I loved subbing Tree House classes?  Sadly, having a class all your own is not actually better than Step Ahead, like I thought, but worse.  I hate the stupid priorities (the students erase and write corrections over spelling mistakes and grammar errors, and then I have to see it and check that it’s okay, meaning I see their start-of-class quizzes and homework books at least twice, and often three or four times for the lazy or slow ones).  There’s so much busywork to do in one class, but strangely, two hours feels like five.

From right to left, crust crackers, peanut butter and Nutella sauce, and candy and banana toppings.

What this boils down to is that I’m appreciating all my other classes more, especially the silence and calm of the junior high class.  This is not to say they’re un-animated, because they talk well enough and burst into life at break times, but they’re closer to adults and they don’t fight all the time.

On Wednesday I had a end-of-the-level party, since I had introduced the idea of dessert pizza in lesson one, and decided to follow through in the party lesson.  We discussed what goes into a pizza and what substitutions we could make, most of them coming from me and surprising and shocking them.  Peanut butter and banana together?  Peanut butter is a sweet thing?!  No, teacher, no.

In the first hour of class, we played some games and I introduced the new unit, and in the second hour, I laid out the spread and showed them how to make the sweet cracker pizza goodness.  My favorite moment was when a student wracked her brain for a moment and then said she “could deal with” peanut butter and banana.  Idiom usage!  We then played the game where you have a name on your forehead and have to guess who you are with yes or no questions.  We had Katy Perry, Obama, my co-teacher Sharon, Kelly Clarkson, and Little Pig in the class.  Overall, it was quite a success!

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Hospitality

This morning I went to yoga and intended to meet up with friends and roommates to work out afterward, but there was about an hour of gap time.  I ate a banana and wandered the park in the drizzle, meeting up with an older guy who wanted to chat — in Chinese, astonishingly enough!  I understood a fair amount, and he translated some words as he spoke (“Economics, economics!”), but toward the end, he asked if I had a boyfriend and the alarm bells began to ring faintly in the background.  Then he mentioned his wife, and said he was just joking around with me… I think.  At the next garbage can, I chucked my banana peel and politely begged off since I knew where he was headed and just said I had to go the other way.  Definitely an amusing encounter, to say the least.

After I had exhausted the park’s thrilling offerings of batty old men and rain-soaked grass and concrete, I thought I might explore some of the streets by the park, since they tangle quite spectacularly in that area.  Since I was getting a little hungry, I thought I’d get a breakfast sandwich, but discovered I was on the only street in Taiwan without breakfast shops!

As I was about to turn around, I spotted a sign and, since it was near 11:30, asked if they still had food.  There were two ladies and a small kid, and as the older lady began my food, the baby started to cry.  The woman who I assumed was the mom was a little confused by this, but I guessed it was me (whether because of the foreign factor or just someone coming in and disturbing his cracker-eating).  She calmed him with a word, and he climbed down to look at me closer.  I said good morning to him, and he blinked, took a large bite of his cracker, and we all laughed at his new-found cool.  Then, he broke off a minuscule crumb (due mainly to his lack of fine motor control and not to bad manners or stinginess) and offered it to me.  Of course, I had to accept and then compliment him on his cool Mickey Mouse hat.

It was a charming experience and I hope it buoys me through the rest of this day, dealing with my 2nd graders and 6th graders.

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Midday hags

Most days I walk to work, I see three old women right at the corner between the park and the school’s building.  They’re not charmingly old or old in a cute way; rather, they’re a special mix that can only be described as weird old.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Shakespeare right now even though I have no reason to, and it struck me the other day that they’re like the Weird Sisters, watching everything and commenting on it.  I don’t think they stir up as much mess as Macbeth’s witches did, but today some old men had taken their customary spot, and they looked about ready to cast some spells that way!

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