On Saturday, I was a judge in yet another English competition. This one was much lower-key and it was at an elementary school in Futian, so it wasn’t very far away. The students were either 5th or 6th grade. They came into a room one-by-one and were asked to read a passage about the upcoming Universiade, the judges asked them questions about it, then they talked about four pictures on a piece of paper (also about the Universiade).
There was another foreign teacher there with me so it made the experience a bit more bearable. The other three judges were Chinese teachers who taught English. One of the kids was extremely nervous and she looked like she was on the verge of tears before she even began. She couldn’t get through the passage very well, so the judges told her to skip it. Then we proceeded onto the questions, although she wouldn’t be able to answer them without having read the passage. One judge wanted to skip three of the questions after she was struggling to answer the other two. The other foreign teacher and I wanted to give her a chance to answer them because she was being scored on that section, and if she didn’t do it, she wouldn’t have a chance to earn points.
Throughout her evaluation, the other three judges were laughing at her. Seriously. Laughing. They didn’t even try to hide it. What kind of educator would do something like that to a student who clearly was very nervous and had low confidence? It was shocking. After she left, the other judges started talking (in Chinese) about how stupid she was and how pathetic her test was. Being able to speak Chinese, Matt and I understood what they were saying. We were outraged at their lack of support and encouragement. Having a teacher laugh at you when you’re trying your best is a complete kick in the face (trust me, I’ve had a teacher do this to me).
On a brighter note, I love the kids that I tutor. Their innocence when it comes to English culture and language is adorable. I was teaching them about hot dogs the other day. I taught them hot dog bun, mustard, ketchup, and preopsitional phrases used to describe that you put the ketchup on the hot dog, in the bun, etc. Then I told them that at baseball games, people often eat hot dogs. Then with a look of complete seriousness, Cindy asked me, “does the team who wins the game get those (hot dogs) as a prize?” No Cindy, the winners of the game get millions of dollars. The people watching the game get to pay $12/hot dog in the stands.
Another boy that I tutor came to class a bit early one day with a flash drive. He told me that his class sang some of the songs on the flash drive. Naturally, we plugged it into my computer to listen. As the music was playing, he stood at my computer and sang the entire song to me. He sang, Take Me Home, Country Roads, and was very proud of himself when it was done.
PS. Since my post about cockroaches, I have found two more in/around my bathroom.