Tuesday the 1st of April 2014
I was introduced to a really tasty steak, egg and spaghetti dinner by one of the other teachers. We went to the night market (two minutes from where I live), it cost about £2.30 and was served on a plank of wood with a sizzling hot plate in the centre. There aren’t any rules here about storage when it comes to night markets, they just pull the steak right out of a bag of meat but it’s cooked well and in front of you so you know it’s less likely to make you ill than some restaurants.
I posted two tweets and status updates this morning, the first looked like this:
Where the Wild Things Are, Written by Maurice Sendak, Adapted by Tiffany Horan, Interpreted by CEI15! I’ve finally finished the play!
The second looked like this:
The children we teach today are the future of Taiwan’s tomorrow.
I started to write a play, I got mad; I deleted it and adapted Where the Wild Things Are instead. It was a good idea and my class absolutely adore it. We’re going to make crowns and claws. They’ve memorised Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen and I have a feeling that the play we put on in May is going to be pretty amazing. I’ve decided that although I have no information other that I’m supposed to put on a play; I might as well enjoy myself. I take everything I do so seriously and I let things upset me so easily. I’ve decided that from now on, I’m just going to do whatever I want to do, within reason. I work for a franchise school, so as well as the stuff we’re supposed to do, we also have blue folders and these blue folders consist of writing, reader theatre and science. Blue folders require more preparation than anyone is willing to admit.
The second status was about how much I genuinely care about teaching. Education is so much more than the subject you teach. I teach English but I could just as easily be teaching art theory to undergraduates at the moment. It doesn’t matter, it should be about instilling a desire to learn, intent to progress, an aim to discover.
The teachers who aspire to inspire, who feel influential and appreciated, are probably the best kind of teachers. I hated school and I was genuinely told (by my teachers) that I would never amount to anything. Well, here I am, eight years later (I left school at fifteen), in Taiwan, with two degrees, doing exactly what I wanted to do because at the time, I felt like doing it. It’s easier to change something when you’ve been directly affected by it, education, particularly university, made me realise how important it is to keep going, to keep fighting for the things you believe in and to keep struggling through everything that makes your life difficult because at some point, it will all be worth it. Life should be about the stories you’ll be able to tell, not the ones you wish you’d told.
I chose to move to Taiwan because I had to do something, I wasn’t getting anywhere sitting in my room in the UK, living comfortably but feeling depressed but that’s what happens to people. It’s just too easy. An opportunity arose and I took it. Last week I was discussing child labour with a private student and we began to talk about legal working ages across the globe. When I moved to the UK, I tried to get a paper round; I couldn’t so I started serving polystyrene cups of coffee, tea and soup at a gun club. I was thirteen.
At fourteen, I replaced an undergraduate in an engineering company during my two week work experience organised by the school because when I arrived the administrative team had confused me for someone older, they thought I was a temp sent from an external agency, I didn’t correct them, I just did the job and left after two weeks. I didn’t tell the school, I didn’t complete the journal we were supposed to write documenting our time as I didn’t have time. I wasn’t licking stamps and making tea, I was sitting in board rooms pretending to understand what was going on around me, making suggestions using jargon I’d heard around the office. It’s just too easy. “Didn’t you get the memo?” I’d say.
I enjoyed that job a lot, I used to meet my friend in the mornings and we’d get coffee, I don’t remember where she was working but it’s one of my favourite memories. I often wonder if any of my students (the ones who are about fourteen) do the same things I did at their age and then I remember that I’m in Taiwan and it’s probably not as easy to just walk into a company, sit at a desk and start working. I’m having a reflective (throwback) Tuesday. I say Tuesday, it’s now Wednesday, 00:18AM.