They happen in the morning; they happen in the afternoon.

Last night, the boys decided that it’d be the most fun ever to continue work on the demolition of the building next door until about 2am this morning. Fortunately, I don’t have to get up early on Wednesdays because I don’t have any classes till after lunch; on the other hand, that doesn’t mean that I will necessarily have slept that well.

The good news is that a new teacher will be arriving some time late in December. The question for me is whether I can tolerate teaching three classes of irritating nuisances three times a day until them.

Class 7, who are the lowest layer of pooh in the cake, got me incensed. As anyone who does EFL teaching in this country knows, there’s a checklist of things that will inevitably happen in class every day: one or other, or both of the textbooks are missing; they turn up with textbooks and handouts for other subjects; occasionally no pen, more usually no notebook for which some pathetic scrap of paper is substituted; the textbook remains unopened or opened to the wrong page; they use your voice to mask their talking; they use the volume of the tape recorder to mask their talking; they don’t listen; they don’t read the outline of the lesson on the board; absence of effort; absence of courtesy; absence of a brain.

I know that we’re inconsequential in the Chinese education system, but I’d had enough of the lack of notebooks among Class 7, and the indolence of some of them. There are two girls in the class who are especially noxious examples of surly, sullen laziness, which is not something I can recall encountering in any other class I’ve previously had. But they’re merely two out of too many who need a visit from the Inquisitor (Red Dwarf – prunes away the wastrels, expunges the wretched and deletes the worthless). Some progress had been made with Class 7, but they’re back on square one.

Sad to say, I think I’d be in bigger trouble from the Inquisitor than they would.

Nor can my particular loathing of Class 7 simply be attributed to being tired. By the end of yesterday afternoon, I was wishing that it was the end of the week again. Part way through the second class this afternoon, I noted with a sigh that there was still another class to come. As I found last term and as I’m finding again now, to teach three programme classes a day, especially three in a row, is to teach one too many. I can tolerate my lack of achievement with two classes, but with three I’m exceeding the limits of that tolerance.


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