I realise it's been quite a while since I've actually written a personal post. It gets easy just to post funny music videos, random conversations, and a few photos here and there.
I've only got four months of teaching left before I do some travelling, then head home in the middle of the summer and start law school in September. It's made me start to wonder what I've done here, what I've accomplished, and why I should even bother staying around another four months.
My work also feels quite useless. Really, how much English can you teach a group of 60 to 70 students in 40 minutes a week? If you do the math, that's about 30 seconds of speaking time each student. I've tried the partner and group thing, but the students just talk to each other in Chinese. For one of my Senior 2 classes, which is equivalent to Grade 11, the English teacher told me that some of the students only know 20 English words and that I should just play them movies. If they only know 20 English words by Senior 2, and they don't want to learn English, then why is the school wasting my time with their class? It seems to me, and a few other teachers in the city, that the only reason there are foreigners here is for the 'prestige' of the school, so that they can tell the parents there's a foreign monkey, oops, I mean teacher.
That's not to say I'm all in the dumps. The weather is getting better, despite the yesterday's snow and lack of heat during the day, though I don't know what the sand storms will bring in a few weeks. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter every day, and the sun stays out longer too which helps.
But it's all made me wonder if I should continue studying Mandarin. In some ways it would be nice to continue because I still find the language fascinating. It's very difficult, and you basically can't speak it fluently if it's not your mother tongue (I've been told even the infamous DaShan has an accent when he speaks). Mandarin may be the most spoken language in the world, but it's basically only spoken in China -of course there's Taiwan, Singapore, and parts of Malaysia, but they're rather insignificant by comparison. Do I want to come back to China to visit? Yes. Do I want to come back to China to work? Probably not. So why learn the language? I'm wondering if I should just start studying Spanish, which will be much easier to learn since I've already got French.
In other news, I've shaved off my beard so now XinJiang people won't ask me if I'm Muslim!