August 3, 2010

Well, more blogs a coming…

Today, being a Tuesday, was the second or third time I’ve seen my grade 8 classes at Chang-rong. These kids are great. I really do feel that these two classes are going to be fun, to say the least.

I told them today about what I had done with the grade 8 classes last semester – starting their own blogs. I wanted to do the same thing with these kids. I now teach in a classroom that is set up specifically for using audio-visual aids, such as the computer! Yeah! This class is cleaner, there are curtains on the windows, the air conditioner works great… and to top it all off, I can hook up the computer, and show it on the overhead projection system!

I started, as I did with the classes last semester, asking them if they knew what a blog was. Took a minute or so, and then they figured it out. I showed them my blog. May not have been the best example, but then again, it gave them an idea of what I do. Then, I showed them C.J. Watermelon’s blog.

It seemed to strike a chord with them. After giving them a few minutes to come up with a name, and registering the blog, they are now all set up and ready to go. The first class, Class 8-1, decided to call their blog, “Bright Phoenix”. The second class, Class 8-2, called their blog, “C.J. Papaya”. Both classes links are accessible from my blog list on the right side of the home page.

You know, there’s something else that kind of pisses me off about people – in general. No particular person or group of people, but just people in general. I’m probably just as guilty about certain things, but I hope not to this extent.

At the junior high school, as well as just about any other public place, whether it be a theatre, bank, school, restaurant, etc., etc., smoking is not allowed. In fact, the laws governing smoking in public places has gotten tougher in the past couple of years.

However, one thing that really bugs me, is people who feel they are exempt from the law of the land. This is not indicative of just Taiwan, either. This happens in probably every country and city on the planet.

We hope, as a people of our respective countries, that the people who propose and enact laws, do so based on public opinion and support. The laws of the land are supposed to be fair and equal to all people.

In the junior high school, there is a sign above all the washrooms, both men’s and women’s, about a penalty or fine for anyone caught smoking, not just in the washrooms, but on the premises in general.

Last year, I made a complaint to my manager about the fact that some of the other teachers, were blatantly defying, not only the regulation of the school, but of Taiwan. I was informed at the time, that the particular teacher to whom I was referring, worked in a different department, and therefore, nothing was able to be done.

BULLSHIT! (sorry)

So, I decided to photograph this teacher whenever I saw this person smoking on school premises. It wasn’t that this teacher was smoking, because hell, I smoke! The fact that this teacher was smoking where students were walking by, and that actually having his smoke UNDER the sign that states the penalty for smoking!

My problem with this is such: yes, I smoke. I’m not proud of the fact. I’ve been smoking since I was 18. I have tried many different ways to stop (New Year’s resolutions, patches, gum, etc.), but I still go back. I wish to hell that I had never started in the first place. I agree that it is a disgusting habit, but I suppose, if one was to have one bad habit, well, it’s only my life that I’m putting into jeopardy.

Whenever I have my smoke, I try to keep it either to myself, go outside, go to a smoking only area, but, I will never, never, NEVER, smoke in front of my students. They may think that I smoke, they may accuse me of smoking, but I challenge ANY of my students to confront me or tell me that I have been smoking in view of them directly!

The fact that a teacher, an educator of young minds, not only defies the laws governing smoking in Taiwan, but does it in front of them! We, as teachers, are in one way or another and whether we like it or not, role models. We should be setting an example to these students.

By standing under a sign that shows that one can be charged for smoking, and with all the public announcements about the dangers of smoking, to do it in front of them, what kind of message is this teacher sending to the students?

Well, in my opinion, this teacher is saying quite a lot without even knowing it. It is okay to break laws. As the old saying goes, ‘… it is only illegal if you get caught …’ Smoking in school is acceptable. Encouraging students to take up the habit of smoking, because hell, if my teacher smokes, then it must be okay.

Hopefully, some of these students are a big smarter and realize that smoking is not a great thing. What I’m more surprised about, is that the student body in general, has not done something about this!

Now, this year, I’m finding the same thing. First off, my class has now been moved to another room on another floor. However, now there are other teachers that I find regularly smoking IN the washrooms!

Now, anyone who TRULY knows me, knows that for the most part, I am more talk than action. Yes, I may make a lot of noise, but usually just making noise, is enough to get things solved. I know that may not be the way of the Taiwan people, but it is my way. If there is a way to change something that needs to be changed, usually just the threat is enough to stop a problem.

I don’t want to involve the police or other authorities. It is not my ambition to make waves. I enjoy living and teaching in Taiwan. I don’t want to make my life difficult here. Case in point – the accident from May 20. Having the other person own up to his mistake and take responsibility for it, was enough. There was no need to go to court and waste everyone’s time, or make life difficult for him or myself.

Some people are either tempting fate, or just think that rules don’t apply to them. Okay, so maybe some rules or laws may not be fair, or may seem ridiculous. However, they are there for a reason. When it comes to something like the smoking laws, this is to make life more comfortable for all people.

Tempting fate – is it worth it?


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