What part of life confuses you the most? Good question. However, is the question in reference to my own life, or life in general?
I’m sure that I’m not the only person who poses that question of themselves or of others. Let’s see… how about if I start with myself.
The thing that confuses me the most about myself, is why I’m constantly called upon to teach younger children. Before I came to Taiwan to teach English, I had done a lot of research. Not only did the TESOL course mention it, but various websites, as well as the few contacts (aka agents). That being, most schools or bushibans, especially in Taiwan, want younger people to teach young children.
Now, as most of you know, I am far from being young. I haven’t been young since, well, I can’t remember! That’s not exactly true, but it has been a while!
However, right from Day 1, I have been teaching kindergarten or rather, PRE-kindergarten aged children. Sure, I do teach older students and teenagers, but I have almost as many of these really young children, as older. In fact, the ages of these children is getting younger. I now have a class of 3 and 4-year olds!
It’s actually quite an experience teaching these youngsters. One thing that I have discovered over these years, is that the younger the child, the better or more receptive they are to learning. I guess, if you were to think of your brain as a sponge, then the younger the child, the more water it can hold. The older, there is too much water, and won’t hold as much. The younger the child, the less responsibilities, the less information already stored, the more willing to soak up this information. As well, they haven’t really learned how to be ‘shy’ or ’embarrassed’.
I notice that a lot with the students doing the story-telling. The two younger children, Nadia and Jonas, are not afraid of being in front of people (on stage). They take in what we have to say to help them with their stories, and practice it so as to do their best. May, on the other hand, is a little more self-aware. It takes a little longer for her to accept corrective remarks into her story.
I have had great success in teaching my little kids sign language. They know a few basic words, their names, and the alphabet using sign language. I’ve tried to introduce it in a few of the older classes, but the students don’t seem to be too receptive. Perhaps they have too much other homework. Perhaps their video games take up too much of their free time. Perhaps they’re just not interested.
I can also look at myself when it comes to language training. Here I am, having lived in Taiwan for 9 years, and still don’t know the basic alphabet. There are only 34 (?) characters or sounds, that make up the language, and I only know the first 4! I know how to say a few words, and even a couple of sentences. But communication? No! At least my little folk know how to answer a lot more questions in English, and some can even translate into Chinese for me!!
Now, what confuses me most about life in general? That’s a bit tougher. I guess the one big thing would be, why others have to get their noses into others’ business. So many people have to, as we say in English, stick their nose where it doesn’t belong.
My neighbour, as an example, is so concerned about my cats, how or where I park my scooter, how often I take the garbage… Why? What business is it of hers? I’ve tried to be friendly with this idiot, but she just doesn’t seem to want to be friends. I’ve known a few people that are like that. Their explanation is that they have too many friends, and don’t want any more.
Okay, so we don’t have to be friends. But why are you so insistent on getting in my face? Why not just worry about your own life, your own kid, your own garbage, and leave me alone. I’m not bothering anyone. I don’t go out of my way to worry about the rest of the world. I look at it this way… I have enough things in my life to worry about, I really don’t care about other’s problems.
Now, don’t get me wrong. With friends, I am still an ear to listen. I will always give advice, more often than not, when not asked, but I can offer advice. However, when it comes to how you live your life, I don’t care. I look at it this way… as long as what you do does not bother, hurt, or irritate another person than do what you want. I am not your mother or father, I am not your brother or sister, I am not your spouse nor keeper.
The only sage words of advice I would have is, you mind your own business, and I’ll mind mine.