Thursday, 20 November 2008

Sauron Jr. Keeps Me Warm At Night

So I've been pretty darn cold at night. We are supposed to get a winter blanket but I don't know when. So far I've been making due with my summer comforter and wearing thick socks and a sweatshirt to bed. But night before last, I kept waking up shivering and figured maybe it's time to actually start using the various heater things I have in my apartment. I checked the weather report and apparently it's been getting close to freezing at night. Oh dear. I figured I would try out the space heater instead of the air conditioner since I only needed one place (my bed) to be warm.

The space heater that came with my apartment looks just like an oscillating fan minus the blades. At least when it's off. When it's on...oh my. The whole back panel glows reddish orange. With the black spot in the middle, it looks like the flaming eye of Sauron. I've decided to call him Sauron Jr. It was a little funky using an oscillating space heater. I put it next to my bed and I would feel this flow of heat from head to foot then from foot to head. I did feel pretty warm and comfy. I set the timer on it to automatically turn off after 40 minutes so I fell asleep toasty and woke up freezing. Oh well.

Last night I was feeling kinda depressed. I had a completely spontaneous video chat with Rose which made my day so much better.

Classes are going ok I suppose. Some better than others. I think one saving grace is how quickly the weeks seem to go. I feel like I was complaining about it being Monday just yesterday and it's already Thursday. It feels like only last week I had to put my water meter readings on my door for the utility bill and I have to do it again tomorrow.

I wish I could get through to my students. This mornings class I gave them the option of discussing the topics as a class or working in smaller groups. They choose the smaller groups. I told them I would give them a strike if I heard them speaking Chinese instead of English and if they could go the whole class without getting three strikes I would end class early and play a game. I gave them a LOT of leeway. It wasn't one strike if I heard any Chinese, I only gave strikes if I heard a LOT of Chinese. They still got three strikes pretty immediately. I talked to them at the end of class trying to impress on them that as much as I wanted to have fun this was still an English class. I asked for suggestions for class rules or ideas on how to encourage English speaking. The only one I got was a student saying that if someone spoke Chinese then they should have to get in front of the class and dance or sing a song. I don't know if I want to use embarrassment as a scare tactic. It's very frustrating.

In lighter news, the older woman in my office brought in a bag of teeny tiny oranges today. SOO CUTE. And I mean teeny tiny. The smallest ones are the size of ping pong balls, the biggest only slightly bigger than that. They are a breeze to peel and so delicious. She gave me six of them. All together they MIGHT equal the size of a normal orange.

I don't know if I already wrote about this, but I am going to a brunch in Puxi on Saturday. Afterwards I am going with some people that were interested in knitting to a craft market where we will get supplies. The plan seems to be to switch locations each time we knit. So one night it would be in my apartment, next time someone else's. These are the people I met at the wine tasting so when it's my turn to host I plan to get some wine and some little snacks and have a fun evening of wine, knitting and chatting. :-)

I think that's all for now. I am enjoying some Chinese sweet and salty crackers and mini oranges. I also have one bag of the candy corn Dave sent me in my desk in case I get a sweet tooth in the afternoons. Yum.

Much love,
Stephanie

1 comment:

Pete said...

I know that it's really sweet of you to really care about your students, but there's only so much you can do. I think in America we expect our teachers to be miracle workers, but I think your focus should be teaching them the material and leaving it up to them to decide how much effort they want to devote to their English learning. Your students are also young so of course they'll be energetic and want to speak their own language. After all, I don't know if they understand how valuable speaking English will be for them and their careers. So, as long as you have all your ducks in a row, then it's up to the students to bring it.