The Value of College @ The New Yorker

Good article in the New Yorker about education and what it means to society. If college is a 4-year IQ test, then what’s grad school, especially in abstract disciplines like pure mathematics? I wonder. I fully appreciate being a graduate student in math. It makes your brain work in funny ways, and I like it.

[…] that the two most crucial ingredients in the mysterious mix that makes a good writer may be (1) having read enough throughout a lifetime to have internalized the rhythms of the written word, and (2) refining the ability to mimic those rhythms.
Professor X quoted in the New Yorker

RURO: The Cutest Robot You’ve Ever Seen!

This robot is probably too cute to be used as an effective security ‘bot, but it does have some interesting features for an educational robot. RURO the robot was designed to teach kids about recycling.

ruro japan security education recycling robot

Read more @ Technabob

Co-Teachers & Grammar Curriculum

In Taiwan, ESL teachers are usually matched with a Chinese co-teacher. This is true for all of my classes, but I spend most of my time with my K2 classes and I’ve known my co-teacher for over a year. When co-teachers take time off, the class starts to break down. The class doesn’t run as smoothly as before. When there is no co-teacher, the class isn’t as easy to run. This isn’t true for the older classes, but it is true in Kindergarten.

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Mega Man Explains Safe Sex

Ah, sex education! Thanks to this 8-bit parody, you won’t have to explain the birds and the bees to anyone. Just link to this video, and they’ll know all about safe sex.

mega man safe sex 8-bit retro gaming

Read more @ Technabob

You Didn’t Review

-You didn’t review!

The Grade 4 boys did terribly in the biweekly test. Shirley was shouting at them. I popped my head in after having marked their test very quickly after they finished it.

– If you did, you’d get 98% like Teresa.
– But teacher, I didn’t review, Teresa replied.
– If you’re Teresa, you don’t need to review. But if you aren’t, you need to!

Pukers & Medicine

This week, I’ve had two students puke their guts out. Both were from the K3 class, and not my own students. They both puked during snack time. If there’s one thing that I don’t deal with, it’s puke, pee, and poo. I let others take care of that. I don’t like seeing puke because it usually makes me retch. I’ve never thrown-up, but it’s the smell that gets to me. I used to have a puker in my class. Every single week, he threw up.

Taiwanese kids take a lot of medicine. In my opinion, a lot of them are over medicated. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve never seen kids take this much medicine before. Is it good or bad, I don’t really know. Whenever something is slightly wrong, the Taiwanese go to see the doctor. That takes some getting used to, because back home, I went to the doctor only when something was really wrong. I’ve probably been checked up more in Taiwan than anywhere else, and I’ve lived in France, Germany, and Canada.

In my class, I’ve got two children who wet their pants. It’s a boy and a girl. I’d be inclined to stick them back into diapers, but honestly, it doesn’t happen much under my watch. It’s happened once since the term has started, but my co-teacher tells me that it happens more frequently in the afternoon.

Temper Tantrum Aaron

The problem with kids that are spoiled rotten is that they can be a handful when they come to Kindergarten. I’ve got a kid like that in my K2 class and he throws temper tantrums almost every day. He’s learned that this is the way that he gets what he wants and uses this with us. It’s the 3rd week of class, and I’ve never mollycoddled him. He’s been mollycoddled enough by his mother.

He latched onto the Taiwanese teacher and uses her as a surrogate mother. He constantly asks where she is and why she’s not around. My Mandarin is passable, so I understand him, but I always reply in English. He doesn’t speak much English, so he’s allowed to speak Mandarin, at least for now. No one else in the school is allowed, only new students. Personally, I would have put him in K1. He needs to learn the basics, but he picks up quickly so there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be speaking English in a few weeks or so.

He’s hit me, kicked me, shouted at me. I’ve had to physically grab him by the arms, while he flails his legs at me and put him outside the classroom. He never naps, and this drives my co-teacher insane because she can’t rest. He keeps the other kids awake. The other kids in class have started to make fun of him, and I encourage this right now to use it as peer pressure. I told the K3 class to do the same. Maybe that will work and he’ll stop his temper tantrums and he’ll sleep during nap time.

He’s getting better, but each and every day, there’s an issue. I think that tomorrow, if he freaks out, I’ll put him in the K1 class, the “baby” class. Usually that works. He’s had a lot of issues. He can’t wash his hands by himself, he can’t wipe his ass, he can’t nap, etc. I believe in tough love and don’t encourage any of this behavior. However, my co-teacher enabled him because she gave him the attention that he wanted. This week, she’s had enough and toughened up her stance.

When the other kids were making fun of him and imitating him, he went up to them and tried to put his hand on their mouths. That crossed a line for me. I don’t allow any kind of fighting, and this was pretty aggressive. He got the boot out of class for that.

In my 5 years of teaching, I’ve rarely seen temper tantrums this bad. They actually make me laugh and I don’t hide this, so that he feels ridiculed. Hopefully all of these techniques will make him realize that it’s my way or the highway.

My First Graduate School Rotation

Hilarious piece over at McSweeney’s. There is a comparison between a graduate school rotation and a buddy cop movie.

My New Daily Routine

Usual art supply suspects: Tombow ABT, Sakura Pigma

For the month of July, my daily routine wasn’t that filled up. I still worked about 8 hours a day, but it was nothing to write home about. Now, for the month of August and probably for the rest of the year, I’ll be following this routine, which includes 35 hours/week of teaching, 10-15 hours/week on writing, 10-20 hours/week on my business, Asterisk*Cycles.

The trick in surviving grueling routines and long days are power naps as well as little pockets of goodness, which are easily wasted if you aren’t careful.

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