March 17, 2010

Top o’ the morning to y’all!

A Blessing clover
from Saint Patrick
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you
in the palm of His hand.

Yes folks, it’s St. Patrick’s Day in Taiwan.  What does that mean here?  Nothing.  Didn’t really mean anything as a kid either, but we still observed this day.

Obviously, from half-way around the globe, no one knows or cares who St. Patrick was, they don’t care or understand why someone wants to wear green, and no one knows or cares who, what, or how is Ireland?

Okay, so the JACKLIN family, from as far back as I’ve read in the family tree, hails from the land of green.  Am I going to wear green?  I honestly don’t think I OWN anything green, so not likely.  Oh wait, I do have a pair of green underwear – and for all you naughty people out there, yes they are clean!

On to other things.

I was going to try to give a lesson to the kids about St. Patrick.  Maybe make little shamrocks like we used to do in school.  Then I thought, why bother.  It just means more work for me, when I already have lesson plans planned a week in advance.  And the amount of time explaining would eat into the art and craft time.  Then there’s glue, scissors, hordes of green paper, patterns, and to top it all off, I would end up cutting out and gluing most of them myself.  Most of the kids I teach from grade 6 down, have no idea how to hold scissors, let alone use them.  Ask them draw and cut out SpongeBob, hey, no prob…

So, next year, SpongeBob, if you’re still around, you will be the new St. Patrick’s Day mascot in Taiwan.  Hell, we might as well change the name as well… St. SpongeBob Day!  I can see it now, greeting cards, water bottles, T-shirts… wait, all that stuff is already on the market!!

Otherwise, life is getting back to normal…  The idiots across the way have again, closed themselves off from the world.  Their son was tossing lighted pieces of paper out the window again last night.  The lady who had Eloise as a tenant for a couple of nights, is smiling and saying hello again, the idiot next door with the dog still leaves at 6:00 am and returns at 7:30 am, her dog barking all the while, again.  And this morning, for the first time in a couple of days, I can hear the birds again.

All my work is caught up, the cat boxes cleaned, laundry done, floors swept, lessons planned, blog done, pictures and videos uploaded, birthday cake almost consumed, stories for story-telling contest have been finalized (for now), and recorded, and my bit of a cold or whatever, is all but gone.  I can hardly wait for Friday to start all over again!

This morning are my two [insert sarcastic remark] favourite classes of my week.  I can barely control my excitement.  I’ve resigned myself to just letting these two classes read for 50 minutes.  What a normal grade 1 or 2 class can read and comprehend in 30 minutes, takes these two classes 50 minutes and even then, they have no idea what they’re reading.  Maybe I should get them all to read my blog!  Hahaha.  Unfortunately, any word more than one syllable, or having more than 5 letters, they’d all be lost.

As an educator, it doesn’t make me feel good to know that 40-45 kids are losing out on a great opportunity – learning a second language.  Especially when I think that some of these kids were the BEST in their class last year.  But when I realize that of the 430+ kids I teach in one week, less than 10% collectively don’t want to learn, than my efforts can be channeled into the other 90%.  I’ve told them, or tried to tell them that as long as they show up for class, they will get a 50% mark from me.  The other 50% of their mark will come from the 5 little questions I must ask them at term end (beginning of April).  Each question is worth 10 points.  Most (honestly) will score between 0-2 on each question.  I will predict now, that maybe, two students will actually get a mark above 60!

For any of you reading this, who have the desire to come and teach English in Taiwan, anything you read in the books about students being studious people, and always striving to be number 1 is bullcrap.  For young teenagers especially, the desire to learn and sit in school all day, has about as much interest as squeezing puss from a wound.  Give them a computer, access to ANY online video game, and they’ll score 100% in the class.

Well, I’ve got my lessons (hah) ready, MY extra work ready, take my daily pictures from the roof, head into the shower, and put in my two hours of relax time.  I wonder if anyone will want to read today.  We’ll see.  Meanwhile, I have about 40 more books to correct for today and tomorrow’s classes elsewhere.

Take care, and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, wherever you are!



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2 responses to “March 17, 2010

  1. Pat

    erin go bragh..

  2. Bilbet

    I do believe, after reading your article that I will pass on trying to teach any teenager, anywhere, anything in this day and age.

    You see life is just a mass of wonderful inventions and discoveries but in the end many will be used for something other than the intended purpose.

    It probably all started with Nobel when he invented dynomite. It was never intended for destruction of anything but we know where that went.

    Hang in there, if one in ten students absorb a minimum of information, you are ahead. Three consective English words is more than when they started. Progress!

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