Well, well well what's going on here?

When the going gets tough it means you should quit and move
onto something more rewarding! I wouldn't think that as being
too unreasonable. Would you?

So it is not the second time the school is attempting to change
my schedule without my consent or at least not giving me
reasonable time to change the schedule. I don't think I am
asking for too much, just ask me first before doing things
behind my back.
It happens all the time, and I am not about to be silent about it
anymore. I am a professional foriegn language teacher with
university degree and over six years of experience in teaching
English and Japanese and they think that they own me just
because they have my signature on a piece of paper?

No one can have ownership of any human being - ownership
of human beings is more like slavery. I teach five days a week
with Sunday and Tuesday being my days off. Without any
continuous weekend, without a strong grasp of Mandarin,
without a car or motor scooter, without public transportation
how can one survive in Taiwan and accept these conditions.
If you knew this beforehand, would you accept this job?

Private schools are manipulators and they think they have
ownership of you, they think that once they have your
signature on paper you are their property. This is how
private schools operate throughout much of China.

---BEWARE of private schools
---BEWARE of private corporations
---BEWARE of private entrepreneurs
---BEWARE in the man or woman in a business suit

---Human beings are not property

Why ESL?

Nearly six months have passed since I've arrived on this island called Taiwan and as an artist working in a diverse array of media - photography, stone, clay, beads, glass, Hi-Tech, etc etc - Clay is my most worked with media. I need my clay.

When you teach for a living at an English school that does not allow for children's creativity to develop nor do they allow for any creative input from teachers - YES it is a very boring school and life in Taiwan does become boring as well, - I need something to take my mind off the daily repetitiveness of English.

I have often thought why learn or why teach English? There are plenty more very useful languages out there to learn/teach - Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Hindi to name a few of the world's more populous languages. Certainly they are more colorful in culture and history than boring old English, which is in fact a relatively new language.

English is just another imperialist language - just wait just as soon as the United States falls and China takes over and we'll all be learning Mandarin. It has probably already happened to some degree such that most large corporations have moved from Japan to Mainland China because it is cheaper.

Mass Production ESL?

The school seems to be quite well respected to the degree that

they are conversational based using foreign speaking English
teachers. The students are expected to memorize sentence
structures and no more so the children seem to do very well
if they are good at rote memorization but ask them a question
outside the text book they have no idea what you're talking
Good in a way but I am finding more and more that they lack
a grasp of grammer. I notice this when I introduced the SVO
pattern and immediately got improved sentences from students.
Most of them haven't the slightest clue what is a verb is and they
really need to know I think. I think the parents like this because
the children seem to be able to advance fairly rapidly from level
to level but I question their grasp of grammer and ability to do
any creative writing/speaking. I am beginning to teach a little
more about the world and slowly including bits of my
cross-cultural curriculum (against school policy) but I think
They seems to believe in being culturally neutral and I find it to
be boring as hell but on the contrary they want us to teach about
Christmas!?!?!? Why?!? some christian holiday?!?
I'm not sorry I just taught it by glossing over it very quickly
hehe ... ; )
I do really like their phonics books I think they are very well
thought out and the children really enjoy them and really do
understand the basics and can expand on the basics to be
able to read more complex words.

After four months here in Taiwan we finally had sum guy
from head office down to observe. Not very good feed back
at all. They seem to just tell teachers what to do without
telling them any clear details as to how to do it. I have asked
about how to improve a Junior High School class - get them
talking but the guy just ignores me.

The classes from CE1 to CE6 are alright but after that the
books are all crap. The sentence structure goes right back to
where they started from "what's your name"!

MASS PRODUCTON ENGLISH I guess, make them memorize
everything, delivered a-culturally but introduce Christmas as
the only culture! Does that make sense? They seem to think so
but I sure don't get it. I've tried to ask if I could teach other
materials because the children don't like the reader but they
say YOU MUST use the material. Does this sound more like
a dictatorship?


Take the Time!

This came in my inbox today:

Today...I wish you a day of ordinary miracles

A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
The fastest line at the grocery store.

A good sing along song on the radio.
Your keys right where you look.

I wish you a day of happiness and perfection-little bite-size pieces of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare. I wish You a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Send this phrase to the people you'll never forget.
It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in too much of a hurry and that you've probably forgotten your friends.

Take the time!

Wishing you the very best for 2006

and Happy Holidays


An idea for language teachers - A blog assignment

This neat idea came from a colleague of mine when we were having
trouble coming up with new ideas to teach. Most students have an
interest in computer games/the internet first of all teach them the
basic computer hardware/software vocabulary in the target
language then move from that to navigating the internet, explain
browers, scroll up/down, address bar etc. then teach them about
blogs and how to set up a blog in the target language. This will
require a prepared handout so that the students can follow along
at home. Obviously the first instruction will be scroll down and
change language to the target language. So long as all instructions
are give in the target language and the conditions for the
assignment will be to post in the target language the students
show be able to follow along.

Excellent way of improving motivation and at the same time
learn to use the English in class to communicate with the world!
For those who teach at schools this may be a good way to promote
the school too!


Teaching English Culture

Once again that season is upon us again where shops around

the world have all sorts of things about christmas. Honestly
I didn't really know what was going on here in Taiping until
I walked into the Mitsukoshi department store here in
Taizhong - Oh yes I guess christmas is comming!

I was asked recently to think of some christmas games to play
with the children. Why does it have to be focused around
christmas? I do believe in the necessity of introducing culture
to teach foriegn languages. I do not disagree with using christmas
as ONE of those holidays BUT I DO disagree with using ONLY
christian holidays. To me this is an insult to me and the other
millions of non-christians followers out there. Sure English
teachers may try to argue that christmas is traditionally English
but English is such a disverse language and accepts words
from many other languages and even accepts cultures. Also
English is so widely spoken by so many people who just do not
give a damn about christmas.

I continue to teach English to be as diversified a language as
possible hoping to create more global understanding amoung
people of different cultures.

[Add country here] Bashing

Call it whatever you wish but one thing I find really
irritating is when people poke fun at another country for
no real reason whatsoever - simply to show some kind of
nationalist pride on thier part.

It happens in nearly every country, Japan bashes China, Korea,
etc. Canadians bash Americans, the same is true in Europe
(at least before the EU time I don't know if it is still true)
and here in Taiwan it is especially true to notice China bashing
by Taiwan. What for? As a half Japanese American born in
Canada I feel very proud that I am not of just one country.
I DO NOT stand up for any particular country and I consider
myself an internationalist - A man without boarders or
as the Kurds say that they are without a country.

In this day in age I feel that peace and friendship amoung
people should be encouraged rather than being at each others
throuts to kill one another. Verbal bashing is just another form
of bullying. In my view it is just plain self-fishness.