Friday, 14th, May, 2010.
Oh woe is me. I awoke today with an instant
feeling of negativity. I showered and forcing my eye lids open to stay awake I
thought about returning to England. I thought about how if I went to university
I would not have to get up in the morning and I would not have to work for
years. I entered my first class in Jin pan with a genuine short fuse. Not the
fake one I try and pull off occasionally. The class was utterly silent. I could
almost taste the fear. 40 little 10 year olds wide eyed, mouths shut and rigidly
still. I conducted the class like a kettle on the verge of boiling. The student
didn’t cause me to boil.
My junior grade one class which had gone
horrible yesterday went well today. I was very inspired to teach them this poem
by William Blake.
THE GARDEN OF LOVE
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
It went down well and it was satisfying to
hear them all belting it out, repeating with tape recorder like precision all
the nuances and stresses I put into the poem. When I taught at shuang Dao
School in the afternoon I lost it a bit with the teenagers. They just would not
shut up. I waited for ages for them to simmer down. Even the other students were
shouting at the loud ones to shut up. This all just added to the general noise.
I gave them all a filthy look and asked them “ why are you all so loud?”, “ It’s
not very hard to just keep your mouth shut, do you like to have so much noise
around you all day?”, “ CAN YOU ACTUALLY SHUT UP FOR JUST ONE MINUTE?”. I
shouted at them. This had the desired affect because I was not the teacher
anymore, I was speaking to them as human beings, and I actually asked them genuinely.
They did actually all stop talking. It was like a rush of joy. Sweet noiseless
joy which descended on the whole class. I could sense that the student where
listening to the silence.
Of course within a minute of the class
starting again the noise level went through the roof, but it was fine. I had
had my 30seconds of quiet and in China that’s more that you should expect.