Friday, June 03, 2011

They Mean Business Over There

I was screaming at one of my Chinese students the other day, probably because she made a subject-verb agreement error, or spelled "writing" with two Ts, or committed some other infraction I found absolutely unforgivable.

"How could you?" I pleaded, as dramatically as I could muster.

She laughed at me. Just sat there laughing out loud. I was shocked. How dare she?

"Aren't you afraid of me any more?" I asked.

"No Mister, I've never been afraid of you."

"Why not?"

"Because this is nothing. You just say one thing. But in China, the teacher yells at you for an hour."


"Yes, and they are way more angry than you."

"Okay," I said. I walked over to her, ready to try yelling at her for an hour, though I knew the class would be over well before that.

"Action!" shouted the girl next to her, gamely.

But the girl stopped me. "It's all wrong," she said. "You should be sitting down, and I should be standing up. Also, I can't look at you. I have to keep my eyes to the floor."

"Wow. Okay, I'll try."

"No, it's not good yet. You need to have a pot of tea. Then you pour yourself a cup. Drink tea, then scream. Drink more tea, then scream some more. And you can't stop until I'm crying."

With all the nonsense they throw at us, I have to admit I'm still glad to teach here in the United States.
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