Was it really Easter? There was absolutely no evidence here on the streets in southern China. Perhaps it is an unhelpful distraction. One that the hard-working population didn’t need to be bothered by.
Easter Sunday started out like any other day. A dash across the city in a scene reminiscent of 1980s computer games. Avoid slow drivers and careless pedestrians. Dodge oncoming vehicles and wobbly bicycles.
Someone forgot the key to the classroom. There was a congregation of apologetic parents milling about the entrance. It was damp outside and it was suggested that I begin the lesson in the covered area next to the bikes.
“Have a seat” I said. They couldn’t – everything was wet. Thankfully the key was found and the lesson proceeded inside.
It was damp at the next venue. This made the students restless. A large black bug rested on my neck and began sucking blood. What was it? No-one could identify. Larger than a mosquito and smaller than a fly.
The roads were wet and someone arranged a heavy downpour at the exact moment I needed to exit the car. You can go through several pairs of shoes on a weekend here.
Time for the bottom-ranked class. It’s week eight and they’ve been bad in all aspects of their study and conduct. There were six kids in attendance but only four books.
“Sorry, I forgot my book.”
And “I’ve lost it. Ha ha.” That cute laugh was the pits.
Had they prepared their English speeches? I asked. The task was assigned on March the 23rd. Twenty-eight days would be enough to complete such a task. Nope, the pressure of computer games and reality TV binge-watching was too much. Only one girl was ready.
Okay, how about your homework on page 100? Oh, you haven’t done that either? Right, it’s punishment time – take out your activity books and begin completing the exercises on page 40.
They hadn’t remembered to bring their activity books. Or their pens.
It was at this point that I exited the classroom and stood outside. It was still raining. The 25-year-old me would have quit – there and then. Stormed off in a huff. Sulked even. The 40-something me thought about some of the mentally unbalanced people that wander the neighbourhood here. Nutter plus knife – you could imagine the headlines:
Foreign Teacher Abandons Students Moments Before Brutal Slaying and Irresponsible Kiwi Expat Walks Out on Kids – Throws China-NZ Relations Into Turmoil!
I stayed and returned to the lesson. It took a monumental amount of patience not to throw something at them.
Lesson Four (these little darlings were exposed in a previous blog) also had a speech competition. Celia (20 minutes late) refused to budge. Come on, share just a couple of sentences. She hid behind her knees.
Brother Jeremy invented an entirely new lexicon:
“Duplo Mountain in air conditioner” and “Pressure from the Carrot family brought problems with young.” Deep, though he couldn’t clarify what “pervert Peru” was supposed to mean.
I found myself asking – if this is Easter, why does it feel like I’ve entered Hell?
Then a quick trip home to hide easter eggs for my daughters and a cup of coffee. Last year, they fought bitterly over who got more eggs. On Sunday they cooperated and worked together. The egg hunt proved so popular that they made their mother hide the eggs a second time.
The final lesson was a kindergarten level class. Thank heavens the kids were good tonight. Each kid received a little egg. The eggs rolled off the table and under the chairs. One girl lost hers and enlisted a number of the parents to search for the missing item. It became a real life egg hunt.
There were tears when her helpers came up empty-handed.
Dreams of neck massages, hearty dinners, and an ice-cold beverage.
Home to Peppa Pig reruns and poorly edited English newspapers.
Homework completed! No, not mine.
Did you have a wonderful Easter holiday? Did the Easter bunny visit your home? What kind of stories do rabbits like best? Ones with hoppy endings!
Thanks for reading. Your support is much appreciated.