if i were a tree . . .

Recently, I discovered journaling with my students. I want to encourage my students to think outside the box (gasp!) and get more comfortable expressing themselves in English. In addition, journaling gives me a chance to breathe and maybe even catch up on some grading.

The other day we started our entries with “If I were a tree . . .” and “I wish trees could . . .” Check out what Jin, my Korean student, wrote:

If I were a tree, I would grow different kinds of fruit so people don’t have to go to tree to tree. I would grow watermelons and Iwould drop it on my enemy’s head. I could also give oxygen so people can breathe fresh air.* I wish trees could grow potato chips [that] fall in your mouth. And grow money. Nobody would ever be poor! I wish trees could be time machines so that I can go to the future or the past. I also wish trees could have arms so it could do my homework.

*We learned about photosynthesis in Science earlier this year.

Or how about this one about cell phones, also by J-:

What would happen if no one had a cell phone? What if you wanted to know your friend’s birthday? What if you and your friend is 5 miles apart! You walk 5 miles just to say, “When is your birthday?” You walk 5 miles for just a little thing. [Or what if] you get lost. How can you call your mom and dad? That would happen if no one had a cell phone.

Pretty cute, huh?

is it friday, yet?

It’s 9:58 p.m. Sunday. October I don’t even know what. The 23rd? Sounds right. I’ve just spent another perfect weekend with one of my new good friends. It’s a good life, the weekend life . . . If only life were only weekends.

You see, school stresses me out. I’m a perfectionist and not the fastest or always the most focused of workers. I get distracted from grading and planning by other more delightful things: running, working out, hiking, reading, facebooking. I love teaching because I love kids, but even teaching can be tiresome. Since becoming a teacher, my respect for teachers has increased exponentially. When the students go home at the end of the day, a teacher’s work has just begun. I could easily spend my entire weekend at the office.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about teaching, however, is the parents. Particularly at a small, private elementary school, parental support is paramount, and, unfortunately, it is here that parents are hardest to please. It is an added layer in Asia that, thanks to a save-face non-confrontational culture, no one communicates anything directly. So far I have learned of all of my students’ parents problems with me.

. . .

It’s a weird world, this world we live in. People are as varied as the countries they live in, but, in some ways, they are all the same, too. Recently I was trying to compare my experience thus far in Hong Kong to my time in Taiwan, but I find I do not know where to start. The jobs and the locations and the social networks are too dissimilar. Each grand adventure is an adventure to its own.

It is now 10:44 p.m. I suppose I should get back to my grading and planning. It’s going to be a long week, and it’s only just begun . . .

Is it Friday, yet?

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent (namely, me).