Now that Blogger's letting me upload photos again (don't know for how long, though: the problem comes and goes), I'm grabbing the opportunity to post some shots I took of my students last week.
Here's my first class, held early Wednesday morning...
...which is immediately followed by this small group of just six students. I particularly enjoy this class because I have a better opportunity to get to know the students.
Here's my Thursday-morning class...
...and Friday's students (who seem rather more awake for the photo than they actually are by that point in the week).
As you can see, the classes are predominently female. It was explained to me that most students majoring in English plan to become either teachers or tour guides--two professions that are female-dominanted, just like here.
Almost to a one, my students are a delight. As John (who worked for a year in China) wrote me, "Aren't the Chinese young-uns dear—I mean very enthusiastic and curious and cautious and wishful and naive and worldly (given Chinese—however much lost—civilization) all at once? Aren't they dear and sweet and at the same time dreadful (I mean ignorant and deprived and inexperienced)?" To that I'd add that they're eager and amibitious and earnest, at least the majority who are obviously relishing this opportunity to improve their English through contact with a real foreigner (just like in the U.S., some cower quietly and just hope they don't get called on).
I gave them a homework assignment last week to write a page on why they came to university and what they hope to do after they graduate, and their goals are plaintively simple: to get a job with a good company, and to see foreign cultures. Some—the ones from less-advantaged backgrounds, I imagine—mentioned that they want to earn money so they can provide for their families.
And I haven't found any evidence of the 'tude that their American counterparts commonly display; even the ones who look pretty hip or punked-out turn out to be unabashedly sweet. The topic of last week's unit was The Weather, and one of the exercises was to agree or disagree with a series of statements, one of which was, "Rainy weather makes people depressed." When it was one spikey-haired lad's turn to answer, he nodded his head in agreement. When I asked him why, he quickly answered, "Because it messes up my hairstyle!"