In the aisles.
I’m allegedly meant to be at a top school in Jiangsu Province. Well, a top school in Wuxi, perhaps. Yesterday was the school’s open day when hordes of parents [insert slight pause here] and teachers from other schools came by the coach load to observe classes throughout the school, including ours. I was expecting a few people to turn up to the AS class, but ended up with them right along the back wall, right alongside the windows down to the front of the class, and about half way down the aisle beside the doors. People took pictures and a cameraman appeared at the back door briefly at one stage.
Obviously people had heard of me and wanted the chance to see Mr Bamboo in action.
[The truth is somewhat different. The pupils in Colin’s class told their parents to go to Mr Bamboo’s class, hence Colin had no observers during the course of that lesson. –ed.]
Dave, who can only be described as a dozy prune who sits at the front of the class, got dragged out of the room by his mother, much to everyone else’s amusement. It was interesting that Dave then started participating in class, knowing that his mum was there somewhere in the background.
I got to the end of the class and gave the little darlings their homework only to then be informed that they were sitting their SATs this weekend, which put paid to their homework – for the time being. The AS class are going to have to get used to writing essays in English, although to them longer means anything over 200 words.
Danwei II has an interesting piece about the experience of a foreigner banged up in a Chinese jail (A foreigner’s life in a Beijing jail.) Prison life sounds every bit as dull as I’ve heard it is. No idea what he was in for or where he was from.
This picture won the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award for 2009. (BBC story.) It’s a great image and yet I thought it lacked any personality because there’s no interaction between the wolf and the viewer or the wolf and anyone or anything else unlike, say, your typical big cat shot where the lion / tiger / jaguar looks at the camera and makes eye contact. It contrasts with the pictures of the squabbling yellowhammers because there’s action and drama in that picture, and the same can be said of the picture of the cat seeing off the fox. I’m sure that I could devise some pretentious interpretation of the picture of the leaping wolf, but I think the picture is merely what you see – an impersonal moment in the life of a Spanish wolf. [02.12.13. I know there was some controversy over the authenticity of this picture, but can’t recall whether it was proved to be fake or not.
Meanwhile, Madagascar, which I had thought was one of those places which seldom features in the news, has been in the Guardian a couple of times recently. The previous story was, I think, about the island as a travel destination while today’s story is about the effect of climate change on the country (Ravaged by drought, Madagascar feels the full effect of climate change). As you can see from the story, the southern parts of Madagascar have some serious environmental problems which are not being helped by the current political situation.
Is it really twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall? Blimey. I know that when I was young, I couldn’t imagine such a thing ever happening, or the reunification of Germany, or the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Windows 7 is out and, it seems, an improvement on Vista even if it’s what Vista ought to have been (or even Vista 3.0). I think I’ll see about getting an upgrade the next time I go to Hong Kong. I was never happy about having to buy a laptop with Vista on it, but because I needed a new machine about a year ago, I won’t be due to buy a replacement for this machine for another couple of years.
Speaking of computers, I see my hit count has dropped dramatically this week (about a fifth of what I’ve been getting on average for the past few months) and my visitors are back to coming almost exclusively from searches. Then again, I haven’t been posting here so frequently because there’s been little worth mentioning. The PAL classes give me no cause for concern; the AS1 class is still behaving like a less bad version of any of the Senior 2 classes I’ve taught since I came to China. Caleb told me that we’re going to be moving to another building in December while the building we’re currently in is actually going to be demolished. I thought that we wouldn’t be moving until the very end of the term and that the building was merely being refurbished.
Lunchtime has arrived, after which I’m off to check out a DVD shop which Rob recommended to me. I’m hoping to get the 4th series of Weeds and that there’s other stuff worth getting.