Sunday, August 09, 2009
Just Memorize the Book, You'll Be Fine
In 1985, Ronald Reagan was president, leaded gas was officially banned in the US, and I spent my last semester as an official student. That was too long ago to fully prepare me for the rigors of last week.
As part of our commitment to teach in China, Cal and I are in the middle of a two-week, 100 hour course that covers Chinese history, culture, religion, politics, economics and foreign policy as well as teaching English as a second language, writing, and survival Chinese. You can do the math. That's fifty hours a week, 10 hours a day, and one exhausted brain.
Actually, it is not just my exhausted brain. Forty nine other people are going through this with me, many of them more long of tooth than I. We commiserate over aging brain cells, little sleep and campus fast food. But we seem to be holding up pretty well. Thus far, I have heard only one person snoring during a lecture.
I think we are running on adrenaline. After all, we are going to a very foreign country to live. We do not speak the language. We are expected to deal with upwards of 150 young people in a university setting, in addition to the faculty, administrators and the guy that fixes our toilet. Of course we are awake during our training!
So halfway through, I can honestly say I've learned a lot in this petrified state of mind. I'm excited that we have this opportunity and I hope we are prepared. After all, our final exam will be in a Chinese classroom.