While I am on the road, I thought I would share with you a few snippets from life as of late, both in China in general and in particular in the wild world of teaching Grade One.
Did we talk about Halloween at all? Timed just before Halloween, my school held Book Week, which we all took Very Seriously. As was apparently tradition, our team needed to dress up in a theme, which meant a story with six decent characters that would allow for costuming. Our Wizard of Oz crew looked pretty stunning, mostly through the careful, thoughtful work of other people. A speedy seamstress stitched together my custom lion onesie for the equivalent of 45 Canadian dollars. One of our ESL teachers followed me around outside smearing untold amounts of paint across my face. Another teacher invited me into the studio he set up in his classroom to shoot my get-up in full glory.
Relatedly, the Tuning In activities my grade level does are usually elaborate, stunning affairs that wow children, parents, and other teachers. Sometimes my colleagues from other grade levels wonder what exactly it is I’m trundling up the stairs to the third floor, or why I am soaked in sweat and covered in pancake makeup. What I lack in theory I make up for in willingness to make an ass of myself.
It’s amazing how much pedagogy can be achieved when you have Chinese websites and cheap shipping available to
you. (Pictured here is 1 Little Pig, your hero, and his Wolfy colleague after tumbling out of their story book). It is also fascinating to watch children wrap their heads around big enormous silly costumes. There was a rush to figure out which teacher occupied which ungainly pig monstrosity, an effort to out us and make us drop the ruse. We would later return to the library, sans storybook drag, and cry ignorance. Most of the kids, the ones who still want to believe in magic and love fun, eventually caved and went along with it. Others remained steadfast, repeating over and over again that no Little Pigs came to visit, that teachers dressed up, and that we were cheaters and liars for claiming otherwise.
As you may have gleaned, China can sometimes be a little grody in terms of air-quality. Daily checks of AQI, an acronym I never knew before setting foot in the country, are a part of my routine. Longing looks at air purifiers take up considerable amounts of my time. And after ages of simply running quickly from indoor spaces and pretending that wrapping my scarf really tightly would block out nasty particulates, I finally caved and bought a fancy mask.
After days of trudging through various claims of particle-filtering supremacy, I decided on one that would simultaneously keep my lungs sparkle fresh while also making me look hilariously mean and not unlike a Batman villain. Behold:
And in other news, I am adding a new friend of SUF to the sidebar. My cousin, who is also talented and funny, is now a Youtube star. Please enjoy this sample of Yes or No Movie Reviews (it’s right there on the tin):