A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE PET MARKET
Classes began for me last week. I'm teaching two sophomore English major courses and two sophomore non-English major courses. I had grandiose ideas about making lesson plans for the entire semester but was foiled again. It's my experience that planning for several classes in advance tends to blow up in my face. Yesterday, for instance, I met with my non-English majors for the first time. I had no roll sheet which is typical so I didn't really know what to expect from this class. I had planned for us to get right into the book instead of just killing time on the first day. However, I was immediately hit by fifty students, half of which had no English name and three-fourths of which had never had a foreign teacher before. It took an entire period just giving names to be able to call roll. The majority of the students can barely function in English and speak to me in Chinese seemingly unaware that I barely understand them. They clearly were not ready to begin using the book today so I changed my lesson plans and will have to re-evaluate everything I had planned for them for the rest of the semester. Ah, a day in the life of an English teacher in China.
Ever since our stay in Chengdu last year when we realized that China does, in fact, have adorable dogs, Jessica and I have been planning to adopt a puppy. We figured the beginning of this year was the time to do it so on Sunday morning we arose early and with two of my students went to the local pet market feeling hopeful and excited. After falling in love time and time again with countless puppies of every shape, size and color, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that the puppy meant for us was not to be found that day and comforted ourselves with the determined solution of returning the following week. Before we left the pet market, however, Jessica found herself drawn to several cages of kittens. Most of the kittens were lying in a depressed stupor, but one was crying and clawing madly at the cage daring to restrict its freedom. When we saw the kitten's frantic efforts to obtain its independence, we looked at each other and came to the only rational conclusion: we must set this kitty free! So we bought the kitten and brought her home with us. She has already greatly increased the warmth of our homes and seriously decreased our productivity. We named her Lucille Ball - Lucy for short - because of her red hair, incessant crying, and endearing neediness.
Today is Teacher's Day in China. Text messages have been pouring in since the first one that woke me up this morning wishing me happy everyday. I happen to have the day off which makes me especially appreciate the life of a teacher, or at least the life of this teacher. Everyone is feeling a little puny today - complete with congestion and weariness. It could be the weather changes or the life changes, but I'm blessed today to be able to rest and watch movies and read.