Tag Archives: English Corner

Misreading the entrails

I should’ve stuck with tea leafs.

I got into the General English Class this morning to find the room empty. Then one of the boys from Class 13 told me that the girls were out at the gate, and I looked out the window just in time to see them running off. While I was waiting for Tracy to get off the phone, Terry, who was in the IELTS class last term, arrived with a friend who, together with Chris (the only boy in the class), ended up being the class. Tracy had obviously seen the girls and had phoned them wanting to know what they were up to. They said that they’d come to class tomorrow, although two turned up at the end of the class, and they were then Row’s class. I told Tracy that if that’s the way things were going to be, then the GE class may as well be cancelled. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Actually, what’s the point of these classes anyway?

I’ll see what happens tomorrow, but it may be time to let Hollywood take the strain. Huh. I was predicting that’d happen on Thursday.

The kids from English Corner took me to lunch today, which was very nice of them. We had English Corner in the restaurant instead of the usual place. I had to explain to Henry that you don’t eat a bread roll with a fork nor hold it claw-hand style. As he explained, the rolls were rather oily.

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Don’t mention it

English Corner.

Just after the class before lunch, one of the pupils came up to me and asked, because the usual sign wasn’t out, if we were going to be having English Corner at lunchtime. I suggested that she should come anyway, but didn’t know one way or the other whether it was going to happen. But just as I was about to head off to English Corner myself, Todd knocked on the door wondering whether I’d knew if it was on or not. Some pupil had told him that it wasn’t. I found the others waiting outside the gate, which suggested, from a distance, that it was shut. Apart from the day when we have English Corner, the school gates are usually shut for an hour from 12.30pm, with no one being allowed in or out. According to one official source, we were meant to be having English Corner, but it was clear that we weren’t.

We didn’t have English Corner the week before the exams or the week of the exams themselves, although I don’t know why it never happened on the former occasion. We did have English Corner on the Sunday (i.e., fake Tuesday) before May Week when the kids from the Junior Middle Schools were meant to be massing. As I think I said, there was no massing. They appeared to be unaware of the event, merely being baffled by the sudden presence of so many foreigners.

So in the absence of English Corner today, I put my time to much better use – I went shopping.

Less demand than expected

Hordes didn’t materialise.

English Corner ended up being a damp squib. I expected hordes of Junior Middle School pupils corralled into the area where we normally have English Corner, but there were just a few and they seemed to be sitting around with their parents having lunch. From what I could tell, no one seems to have told them that we had English Corner at lunchtime. We certainly didn’t need an hour and a quarter, and I ended up chatting with the usual suspects. It was only nearer the end that a few of them, probably on the urging of their parents, stood around and listened. Whether they understood much of what we were talking about is a moot point.

One of the things which came up was that maths test I mentioned the other day. [08.09.14. Post deleted?] One of the kids wanted me to write a letter to The Times about the state of English tests in China as a kind of corrective to views which foreigners might have about tests in China in general. Actually, I think he was more annoyed with some of the questions in last week’s English exam which clearly needed the guidance of a native speaker because it was one of those frequent occasions here when the question had almost no connection with the article and failed to focus on its theme.

It was not the only instance today when things turned out differently. I eventually found the classroom which we had to use today while our guests were using our classrooms to sit the test to get into the school. After some mucking around, we worked out how to get the projector working and, instead of art class, we continued watching the DVDs from yesterday. It was the better option since we had the whole of each class in the room.

As Todd noted, although it’d passed me by, Equilibrium is full of hidden rooms. Everywhere the hero goes, he’s always knocking holes in walls to reveal yet another. He always makes the hole just where the steps down into the room are located, even although he has no way of knowing they’re there. Even the hidden rooms have hidden rooms. And if that’s not enough, the electricity is working, or there are burning candles, or there’s a handy oil lamp, primed and ready, with a box of matches sitting beside it.