China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

I Am Thankful that this Moment Has Passed


Totally Awesome Picture of the week 51


I am thankful for my engaged and polite students who stay in their seats and don’t bury my activity sheets in homework from other classes. I am thankful for those students who don’t backtalk and the non-smart ass 12 year-olds who don’t believe a photocopied book over their teacher, even after they’ve discovered the book to be wrong previously. I am thankful that somewhere in the world eating turkey is less absurd than eating dog, that somewhere there are drains that don’t smell of feces, urine and rotting trash, and, most of all, I am thankful that someday I won’t have to be thankful for any of these things anymore.

That’s right, I speak with an air of impermanence. Though it is only December, I see a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. That light is dated July 1st and I cling to it like a full glass of whiskey on a turbulent flight when encountering classes like the one above. One week, two boys from this class toppled chairs and desks, scattering paper and the contents of several pencil cases wall to wall in an all out brawl. I had looked up just in time to see one of the largest boys in class hop across the top of his neighbor’s desk, kicking it over as he dove like a starving polar bear on an injured sled dog. Both boys were crying when we got them apart, snot dripping to their chins, and their strict homeroom teacher showed up just in time to pull them out by their collars.

This week, the sleeping boy in front had a razor (they all had razors to cut out shapes for geometry class). After telling him to put it in his desk five times I found he had cut the girl sitting next to him (the one who has left her seat to go copy a friend’s work in the picture). Though just a scratch, her palm bled for the rest of class.

Everyone in the community but us are informed of our true role as foreign English teachers. “I have something more important at that time,” an eleven year old informed me when I asked why she’d switched out of another foreign teacher’s class into mine with fewer than 4 weeks left in the semester. We are entertainers. We are well-treated jesters. But the joke is on them! Their parents pay top dollar for the children to experience us. Sure, their children get the chance to hear and see real live foreigners, but do they make anything from that? We are less interesting than cartoons and harder to understand. A waste of everyone’s time, especially mine. Which is why this picture is so awesome. It both fully illustrates the painfully slow process of time passing and captures a moment that I will never have to experience again. I am thankful that that moment has passed.

One Response to “I Am Thankful that this Moment Has Passed”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lily,
    What a poignant entry. I just stumbled across your blog b/c I looked at your changed profile pic. Anyway, I’ve been teaching in Newark for the past three years. Things here are very similar…I guess I just didn’t think it was happening to the same extent in other countries. Here’s to JULY!
    Best,
    Andrea (Novak)

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