Friday, March 13, 2009

Ah, the Life of a Taiwanese Schoolgirl

On Friday nights I teach three two-hour blocks. I find it is crucial I spend the first 20 to 30 minutes of each period working the class - taking attendance, teasing the kids and bantering at their level of comprehension.

My professional justification for this would be it's time spent engaging them in English outside the textbooks. But really I just don't want them to completely hate me for my complicity in such a blatant act of pre-weekend torture. Plus, if we crack open the book right when the period starts, they start flirting with mutiny 90 minutes in: "Teeeeeeach-uuuuhr I hungry ... PLAY GAME! PLAY GAME!"

My 7 o'clock class was looking droopy-eyed the minute they walked in.

"Cheer up! Only two hours - then your weekend begins!"

"Noooooo no no no homework."

"But don't you get to go home after class?"

"No - have to stay here. Do homework."

I asked the girls in the front row what their weekday schedule was. I wrote it on the whiteboard as they dictated. Keep in mind, these are 10-year-olds. This is what they told me they do during the week:

7 a.m. Arrive at School
40-minute class
40-minute class
40-minute class
40-minute class
Lunch (30 minutes)
Nap Time (40 minutes)
40-minute class
40-minute class
Clean (they have to clean their 6th period classroom everyday)
3:50 Go Home
4:30 Go to Cram School
Do homework
Eat dinner at cram school
More homework
7-9 English Class
9:00 More homework
10:00 Go home

Ageh, it boggles the mind.

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