Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Battle of the Ages

Three people joined my Chinese class last month. The new, less-advanced students decided they disliked my favorite teacher, the one I find most challenging. So, without telling the other half of the class, they requested a change. My favorite no longer teaches our class.

I would've raised more hell about this, but next week is my last and these new people are continuing another two months. But I think a telling issue with this incident is there's a 25-year gap between the new, less-advanced students and we three original classmates.

I guessed they thought when they wanted to go shake their jowls, there was no need to consult us young folks - we couldn't possibly have worthwhile opinions.

Then I talked to my favorite teacher after class today. The administrator told her when these older students went to harp on her, they also had some interesting things to say about us three:

They don't pay attention. They're always playing with computers, messing around, etc. during class.

"Playing with computers." That would be my friend's electric Chinese-English dictionary, which is pretty handy when trying to learn to read and write.

I think the old people were just so lost they figured we must not be paying attention - like we're just sitting there to pass time, because that's what kids do. But the thing is we weren't. My one friend already knows Cantonese. And the other is fluent in Mongolian, Russian and English. They are serious language learners.

Sometimes my friends pull out their iPods during breaks, while the old people continue to "practice" Chinese in stilted conversations with eachother. Personally, I think the iPod thing is antisocial, but people in college did it too. Further, Chinese class is intense - I can see wanting to zone out during the breaks.

Conclusion: Old people are so ageist! It reminds me of interning at newspapers when I'd show up and the source would ask, "Sooo, you're writing the story? By yourself?" I hope when I'm old I remember to withhold my judgement until it's validated.

1 comment:

Jimmie said...

I totally know how you feel. I get this with some of my co-teachers as well. Because I'm so young and just graduated I must not know enough to teach English.

And I feel you on writing stories and the sources getting freaked out about my age. "You're an intern????"