The Old Must Go for the New to Come

In January 2010, I crammed 25 years of my life into two little 50 lbs bags and headed out on a China-bound plane to educate the young and inquisitive minds of Dalian on all things American. But why? Why leave a coveted associate producer position at CBS (and six years of journalism training to boot) and head off to a lowly English teaching position in China? Why? Because, frankly, I've learned getting what you think you want out of life isn't always what it's cracked up to be. What follows are the tales of my trials and triumphs (like overcoming my fear of the dreaded squatty potty) and the lessons I've learned along the way...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

21 Questions

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve now been teaching at Jayland longer than most of my Western colleagues. It’s been 9 months, three semesters and over 20 different classes. Over that span of time, it has become a weekly ritual of mine to begin many of my classes by asking my students to write down a question that they’d like to discuss at the end of class. They are allowed to ask questions about virtually any topic they can think of; the only condition is that the questions must be written in English. Over the weeks and months, I’ve built up quite a collection of classroom queries, so I thought I’d share a few gems with you. I’ll leave my responses up to your imagination. :o)

1.     How do you think the Iraq War, now it’s the end of it? Do you think the U.S. Army won?--Adult Student

2.     Why do America speak English?—Middle School Student

3.     What language does people in Mexico speak?--Middle School Student

4.     Do you like to wear dress or skirt? Do you like to eat fruit? Why fish can swim?—Middle School Student

5.     Why we must to do a lot of homework always during our vacation?—Middle School Student

6.     Why we must drink water?-- Middle School Student

7.     Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Do you believe this to be true?—Middle School Student

8.     [A sketch of poop and an arrow] What’s this?—Middle School Student

9.     What were Confucius and Marx famous for?—Middle School Student

10.  Who invented life and people?—Middle School Student

11.  Why are Americans very strong but Asians are very weak?—Middle School Student

12.  Why does Americans stay in the sun everyday and there skin is so white?—Middle School Student

13.  Why do Americans have white skin but Africans have black?—Middle School Student

14.  Why is America powerful?—Middle School Student

15.  Why did Americans believe in the God so much?—Middle School Student

16.   Why American girls so beautiful?—Middle School Student

17.  What does “Howdy” mean?—Middle School Student

18.  How to ask for help when a man is sick seriously at midnight?—Adult Student

19.  I just saw a sentence in a movie: “Is your skirt sick?” I am not sure what’s meaning of that. Could a skirt be sick?—Adult Student

20.  What means the sentence: “The people across the hall are getting a divorce?”—Adult Student

21.  I haven’t a question. You and Agnes [my co-teacher] are very good and pretty. I will study with you in the future.—Adult Student

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