Monday, September 17, 2007

Gender Confusion

Friday I finally received my full schedule for the semester. I'm teaching three groups of students: two classes of high school sophmores and one class of college freshmen. My classes are divided up into two 45-minute periods with a 10-minute break halfway through. Wednesday is the only day I have two classes.

Monday & Tuesday- Speaking and listening w/ class #1 of high school sophomores
Wednesday- Speaking and listening w/ class #2 of high school sophomores & Speaking and listening w/ college freshmen
Thursday- Speaking and listening w/ class #2 of high school sophomores
Friday- Speaking and listening w/ college freshmen

This afternoon was my first class with the high school sophomores. Their English level is quite a bit lower than that of the college freshmen and today, most of them seemed pretty scared of me. After introducing myself (JA-NET! JA-NET! JA-NET!) I had them choose English names from a list of about 200. There are some cute ones, including Fire, Alerwen (not sure where that came from?), Yoyo, Beny, and Cloud.

The most embarassing moment of the class came when I enthusiastically shouted, "SO! WE ONLY HAVE ONE BOY IN THE CLASS!!!!" and pointed to the effeminate and very thin "young man" sitting in the front row. The students laughed, and the "boy" quietly said, "No, I am a girl." OOPS. I think it happens to him a lot... Scott told me that during the meet and greet we had with the students a few weeks ago, some girls asked him to, "Guess whether that is a boy or a girl." Of course, he said boy... Poor thing. Anyway, I apologized during the break and she decided her name would be Bobo.

Tomorrow I have one class in the morning, then we'll have our first lesson with Ruth the Chinese tutor. Ruth speaks excellent English and is also an Evangelical Presbyterian: a rarety in China. Scott and I met with her Saturday, and not even thirty minutes into the conversation she was inviting us to church and showing us her English-Chinese hymnal stash. Good thing I could tell her I'm already a Christian! After the lesson, Scott and I will have our first basketball game with some of the other teachers on campus. That will be an interesting journal entry, I'm sure!

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