Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Day In The Life

Today I was happy from the bottom of my heart. You know those days when you’re not just supposed to feel joyful, but you actually are joyful? That was my day, especially my morning.
Problem is my husband is not
here in Qingdao right now, but visiting with his family, so I felt a tad weird about it. Is it okay that I felt that good?

The truth is I’ve realized I’m an introvert. Thanks Jason and Lindsey for clearing that up for me. According to their studies, introverts refuel alone, whereas extroverts refuel with others. Just because I like to be crazy with friends doesn’t mean that I’m automatically an extrovert. I used to think it did. It totally makes sense. That’s why during my planning periods as school all I wanted to do was close my classroom door and turn off the lights. That’s probably also why I survived being single until my 30s. I’m an introvert! It’s kind of liberating actually.

Fortunately this morning I actually was missing my husband, so that’s not the reason why I was happy. I was happy because it was snowing, and it was sticking. And you should have seen the flakes – they were so big; I swear I could have proved the theory that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. It started falling really hard as I was teaching, around 8:40 or so. (My tutoring school is on the fifth floor of a building and my classroom has huge windows on one side.) I got so excited I asked my students how to say, “I love snow” in Chinese. They all just looked at me with blank stares. I would have been okay with that if I was actually asking a question about something in their lesson, as that is their normative response to most academic questions, but this time I was NOT okay. “Hey, Chinese students! You speak Chinese. I need to know how to say I love snow in Chinese!” I really said that. Thankfully they started to laugh and tell me. A few minutes later I went to the back window, slid it open, and stood up on its sill to take some pictures. There’s nothing quite like a breath of snowy air.

I was also happy because for the first time in a long time, my students were quite good today! Believe it or not, kids are kids – whether they are in China or in the U.S. Regular K-12 school classes are huge here. Brad’s 7th grade classes were an average of 60 students each, and that was at a private school. I think students are used to getting away with talking, etc., in their regular classes and then most of their tutoring instructors on the weekends aren’t certified teachers anyway. You should hear the kids in the hall during breaks, they’re crazy!!

It's the carryover into class that drives me nuts. I have to get on these kids often for talking, etc. I had to move as many of the boys possible to the front row a few weeks ago. But today I had them working on a project. After the first 10 or so minutes of chaos, spent going around to each student making sure they were on track, they started p e a c e f u l l y working. It was a-mazing, and I actually think they were learning. I can hope.

To top that off, I had brought my super-cute, go-go-gadget battery life, netbook to class so I played the Beatles as they were working. Haaaa – a teacher can’t get much better than that. I may have even (aghast) smiled a few times in class. The Beatles will do that to a girl.

I secretly skipped their normal break, which they didn’t realize until about 20 minutes left in the class (It's 2 hours). Don’t wake the baby! I knew if they had a break it wouldn’t be the same after they returned from the crazy antics of the hallway. It was much too risky and I’m way too conservative. One kid finally asked when we were breaking and I acted totally caught off -guard, that we must have forgotten. Teaching is also acting. (A wise man once said that… my dad.) Sorry young lad, no break for you (Seinfeld flashback bread for you!). Just sit back and enjoy the music.

One last funny anecdote: That kid also tried using the ‘F’ word today in class when talking to his buddies. At first I didn’t believe it and told myself, “Man, some word in Chinese totally sounds like the ‘F’ word!” He felt confident enough to use it again so I addressed him that time, in a low voice, looking straight into his eyes. I told him no matter who I teach, in which country, no student of mine may say that word in my class. Then I turned around and laughed at myself. I’m such a teacher.

Oh and, anyone need a new sporty bag or handbag? Adidas? Nike? Kappa? ... I know a guy.


  1. Dana- I love these posts about your daily life. I totally envisioned you and could hear the Beatles in the background and your photos fill in the blanks. Thanks for sharing, you introvert, you.

  2. Glad you had a snowy moment and a happy day! Love you!