November 5, 2006 - Guyuan, China
The Official Visit of the Peoples’ Officials
The week was rolling along nicely - I had overcome the fact that Halloween was going to be a little less splendid than usual and Wednesday with its five classes had breezed by - and then Wednesday night, as I’m walking past Ms. Wangs office,
“Allist? Allist? Come here please.”
I know this tone. It’s usually accompanied by an apology.
“I’m very sorry to say,”
I told ya.
“Tomorrow officials will visit your classes. We will move them to the morning. You will have your afternoon classes in the morning.”
“Safety officials, policemen, Education Bureau officials and officials from Yinchuan.”
The last officials seemed solely for effect. Good mix of people though, lucky me. I thanked Ms. Wang for letting me know and almost left.
“Oh yes, and they will visit your apartment.”
Oh. Yes. Of course.
Two more things on the list for tonight. Re-plan a class that doesn’t involve scaring the hell out of the students and clean the apartment for the “official” tour.
Thursday morning I get to school for my rescheduled classes and wait.
10 minutes to class. No horde of officials. 5 minutes to class.
Right. Off I go to class. No officials there either.
Not very official of them.
Twenty-five minutes into class - a knock at the door - Ms. Wang. She ushers me out into the hallway.
“Allist. We will go to your apartment now.”
Now? What about the class?
“No matter. We will go now.”
And that’s that. I guess the classes aren’t so important. My apartment, however, now that’s top priority. We stop on the way at one of the large conference rooms.
Inside, a gaggle of officials. There should be some specific name for a load of them. An order - no, an oogle - of officials.
Yes. I’m introduced to an oogle of officials. The Chief of the Province Police and a few underlings. The Directors of the Education Bureau (+3 underlings). The Internal Affairs Bureau Director. The Foreign Experts Bureau Director. Two official translators, a few drivers and a partridge.
Then, sitting on the table, I see what looks to be a blueprint of my apartment.
The tour - feeling like a real estate showing - goes fast and we walk back towards school for my second class. Ms. Wang interrupts.
“Allist. We will go to lunch now.”
But… my class?
Right, then, off we go. I proceeded to find out at lunch that even red wine is not immune from the regular glass-emptying institution that is GAN BEI!
Official Visit of the Peoples’ Television Officials
After an abbreviated classload on Thursday the week rolled itself right through Friday.
There I found myself, walking past Ms. Wangs Office, almost to the door.
“Allist? Allist? Come here please.”
Now you know why I know that tone. Queue apology.
“I’m very sorry to tell you but you can plan a class for tomorrow morning?”
“The television crew will be filming your class.”
Ah - good to know.
I plan a quick lesson on sports vocabulary - the kids should take to that.
The next morning, first period, I get to class and we proceed to run through takes of the class. All staged. Extra points for the volume from the students.
Following that I was given the opportunity - forced - to give an impromptu lecture on teaching methodology for the cameras.
Me and my education background. Lots of “Western methodology” and “retention” and “comprehension.”
They seemed to eat it up. Every last bit of utter verbal dribble.
At least they didn’t want to see my apartment.
» The Jetsam of Note
The clock is ticking for fish. A recent study states that we’ve got 50 years to eat as much salmon and tuna and grouper as possible. Remember do your part, Eat fish! Let’s see if we can do it in 20 years!Buncha gluttons…
maybe surprise tours/inspections of nyc apartments would keep things more in order... not a bad idea.
p.s. the kids are so cute in the pictures!
opening in wide distribution? need an agent? way to go. i always knew you had star power.
order? yeah? whats going on in new york apartments that would need order?
distribution of ningxia at least. which would mean a few million potential viewers.
not that many of them would understand my blathering on about fake teaching methodology - and that has nothing to do with their english skills.