Woohooo! No school! We got snowed-out overnight, and the snow's still falling. I haven't had school cancelled since high-school. It felt absolutely incredible when Alistair phoned me from the school to tell me. Like feeling years being washed away. Just that pure, selfish hedonism of zero obligations and the sense of having escaped something dire. In my case, I sort of did. I was supposed to have a show class this afternoon. When I do have it, it will be ugly. "Baby monkeys" ugly. Those poor, dense, hopeless kids.
This morning my class was cancelled because most primary and middle schools have called in all their faithful to do spring cleaning. I love China. Why hire custodial staff when there are hundreds of able hands at the ready who have to be there anyway? One of my most surreal memories of China will always be of a pudgy 12-year-old boy in school uniform hanging outside a window (perched precariously on the window bars/cage) to clean the outside of the classroom window. ... in the middle of a small dust-storm.
I certainly haven't gotten my mind around the fact that I have only two weekends left here. I get a pang of panic and fear. Silly thoughts like "But... what are my kids going to do? What if the next teacher messes up all the great habits and learning behaviours I've taught them? What will the kids do without me?" race through my head. As of right now, none of my students know that I'm leaving soon. I'll tell them next weekend, I guess, but I'll speak with Andrew before I do that. I don't want him to have to field parent calls and concerns. Kids do get attached to teachers, especially ones they've had through more than one class. Parents get very partial to teachers, and want their kids to have the comfort zone of consistent teaching (regardless of whether it's good or poor).
I had at least one moment in each of my four classes yesterday that made me supremely happy... and then horribly sad. Finished up my EL 2 class and little Andy tapped my bum as I was cleaning up all the phonics and adjectives flashcards. I turn around and he has this huge grin on his face, and he salutes me, feet snapping together and everything. I returned the salute with mock severity and his grin almost swallowed his face. In my HF-Starter class, one of the girls (Annie) was trying to remember another girl's name to say good-bye, and I mimicked a candy-eating action and sound-effect (the girl's name being Candy). A light goes off above Annie's head, and with all seriousness, Annie turns to Candy and waves, saying "Good-bye, Aum!" As I was crouched down, I fell over laughing, and Lily tripped over a chair and almost fell she started laughing so hard. Everyone, including 'Aum' and Annie burst into gales of laughter. The door was partially open, with parents gathered around outside and they were all laughing.
In my HF 1B class, I kept confusing their names on purpose and one little tiny girl named Vicki actually chased me around with a flashcard of a toilet, much to the class' amusement. In EF 5, we had a few good laughs doing predictions and reported speech. Got a new student, a 12-year-old boy named Anthony, which I thought would be a disaster but the guy almost carried the class. It reminded me of Family Guy episode when the cheerleaders all 'adopt' Stewie. The girls (mostly 15/16) took to Anthony right away and he did great.
But again... these all left me feeling incredibly sad as I realized that very soon those kinds of moments would be gone, that they'd have a new teacher and carry on while I go on my own way. I suppose that's the nature of all things, though, and why we should enjoy them while we have them and try our best not to take anything for granted. What we have today, we may not have tomorrow.
On a brighter, less serious note, Friday was the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie, or "First Lunar-Month Night Festival"). It was a blast. Our winter course students all came in for two hours in the morning. No teaching involved. So my TB Bs all came in and Betty showed us how to make the lanterns (just construction paper, glitter, glue and some gift-paper). I told them they had to have something written on it both in Chinese and English. It worked out well. Traditionally, people would put riddles on their lanterns but we were shit outta luck for finding Chinese riddles. I put da feng on mine ("charity", I think). I wanted "generosity" which is kang kai but the Chinese characters were too tough to cut out - with scissors, anyway. Kids all had fun: they made lanterns, sang Chinese pop songs, and we did some English riddles.
Then we all shuffled in to the large activity room to dine on tang yuan which are basically chewy, gooey, dough-like sugar balls. Also, the school's camera went ppllllbbbt halfway through the morning, so they used mine, which means I have tonnes of photos from Alistair's, Camilla's and Duncan's classes when they were doing their lanterns. It all worked out nicely, anyway, and my lantern is currently jammed in a vent in my regular classroom where other students can ponder what the hell it's doing there.
So now with a day off I'm going to take full advantage of it by doing next to nothing and feeling smug knowing that I would otherwise be at school, sweating through a failure of a show class.