February 24, 2011

A few weeks ago, my cousin, Beth, had placed a note on Facebook, asking what we thought, was the best television show ever. My response to this request, was M*A*S*H and Golden Girls.

This really has nothing to do with what I’m about to talk about, except for the reference to Golden Girls. For anyone who has watched Golden Girls, you will know the characters – Sophia, Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose.

This is where I sort of break out into my ‘Rose’ persona. The one thing I’ve always seem to be able to do, is re-tell stories or jokes. Okay, perhaps some people don’t enjoy my entertainment, but, I enjoy it.

Since coming to Taiwan to teach English, it became apparent that I have a lot of stories to tell about my life. Not all the stories are hilarious, and some are somewhat serious, but I do enjoy telling these tales.

So, here goes…

Yesterday, being Wednesday, is a somewhat busy day for me. Granted, I don’t have a lot of traveling to do, but a big chunk of my teaching day is spent at Giraffe English.

On these days, my first class is at 2:00pm. I have three classes in a row – Mix A, Mix B, and Mix C. Each of these classes are, just as the designation indicates, a mix of students from various regular classes. In each level, the students are generally all of the same level.

My manager and I have discussed a few things about moving around the times and switching some students from one level to another. This is actually a good thing, even though a few of the students think it’s not. In most cases, timing of other classes had a bearing on the switch. In other cases, there were students who were in a class that was too low for their level of English, and moving them to a higher level seemed only natural. Having a student with a high level of English in a class of beginner level, is not challenging enough for one, and uncomprehendable for the others.

But I digress…

In the first class today, because of the change of levels, there are now 12 or 13 students in this class. The room is a little too small for that many students, but we adjusted. When I go to Giraffe on Wednesdays, because I’m there all day, I take my laptop with me.

Several reasons for this. All the books that I use for these classes have already been scanned and saved on my laptop. I do not need to bring my physical books or lesson planners with me. All my lesson plans are on the laptop as well. During the breaks, I can also plan the next class, as the info is still fresh in my mind. That way, when I get home, all I have to do is print out the plan and I’m finished!

So, as usual, I had the computer with a few other items on the table in the class. I had also just made a pot of coffee before leaving home, so I had a nice, hot, fresh cup of exquisite brew while I was teaching.

Okay, so at one point, I had taken a sip of my coffee. Consciously, I decided to put my thermos on a shelf, rather than putting it back on the table. The table is a little wobbly, and with the number of students and me moving around, the vision of my hot coffee spilling all over a student or the floor, was enough for me to make the decision to move my thermos.

Well, a few minutes later, I was writing answers on the whiteboard for the students. At one point, I turned around, and didn’t it happen – I bumped the table, and for some reason, the table folded up. Thank god the coffee was out of the way. Unfortunately, my computer was not!

Crash! The next thing I hear, is my manager giving a gasp, a few students saying “Ooo”. I turn around, and there on the floor, are all my papers, my iPhone, and to my dismay, my laptop.

It was the end of class time anyway, so I let the students go. I turned on the computer, and it seemed to still be working. The only thing is, the upper right corner is shattered! I now have about 3cm of screen space that is unusable, as well as a few lines that are not functioning. However, it still works. No loss of files. No problems that I can see.

Alright, well, I don’t have the cash to get it fixed right now. Also, is it possible to get it fixed, or would I just have to get a new laptop. Since I can still use it, and there doesn’t seem to be any problems, worrying about a minor screen problem is not a concern right now.

Okay. Second class comes in. I’ve now shut down the computer, and put the table away. More students are in this class as well. I decided to sit on the floor. These students are reading a book, so there is no need for me to move around the class.

At one point, I get my coffee, and place it on the floor beside me. Again, visions are running around my head of me knocking over my coffee inadvertently, so I put the thermos as close wall as possible, but just within my reach.

Wouldn’t you know it. This was one of those odd times in this class where I did have to use the whiteboard. I moved the thermos over a bit more, again, being cautious. Just as class was ending, I turned around to the class, and just as I did, my foot tipped over the thermos.

All that precious black gold, now was streaming across the floor, toward the door. Oh man, what a day. As all my classes at Giraffe are in the evenings and occasionally the afternoon, I generally never have coffee with me. I will have a bottle of water. The lid is always screwed on, and should something happen, the worse is, the bottle will tip over, but nothing spilling out.

My manager came just as the students were leaving, and started helping me to wipe up the coffee.

You know how we say in English, that everything happens in 3’s? Well, now I was more aware, almost to the point of paranoid, for the remainder of the day, for that third thing to happen.

However, while I was falling asleep tonight, and recalling everything from the day, it occurred to me that I still hadn’t had the ‘third thing’ happen. Well, maybe that saying is wrong… we’ll see.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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