Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick Shock

I don't believe my students are human. At least not my Tuesday and Wednesday classes. I gave them until Thursday afternoon to hand in their assignments and they've all handed them in early. And most of the them look good (I haven't marked any yet, just browsed through). Since when do graduate students hand in assignments early? Anyway, it's quite a pleasant shock.

I've also managed to get some conversations started in those classes. We discussed the car-free week here in China. Supposedly 108 cities are participating and forcing government employees to take public transportation to work. There's also going to be a private-vehicle ban on all major roads for twelve hours on Friday. So far, while waiting for the school bus in the morning, I haven't noticed any changes in traffic (has anyone noticed a difference?). I am curious about how long it'll take to get to work on Friday without as many cars, although I think the ban will only be on a couple roads that the bus takes.

Some of the more interesting student responses to "Why would people rather drive a car?": "They have a lot of pride in their car." "They'll lose face if they don't drive." While the wording of the responses sound culturally significant, I can't help thinking that they're very similar to American views.

Other class-related story: I had a visitor to my office hours yesterday. He just wanted to talk and improve his English level. He asked if I had any problems with getting cheated while traveling in China (he needed a little help phrasing the question). I said, "Sometimes. It's worse when my wife isn't around." He proceeded to say that he thought people in Shenzhen tend to cheat others more often. He also told me about his friends getting ripped off in Guangzhou. He compared southern Chinese to northern (where he's from)--he seems to perceive southerners as less honest and less polite as those in his home region.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting hooked and on the new job. It sounds like you getting to the point that you've been searching for. I thoroughly enjoyed reading a large chunk of your story while reflecting on the fun times I had while teaching back in FutianQu'04. Cherish the adventure! suddennis@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

checking out volunteering on:

Windy said...

Well, I guess Chinese people don't like to miss the deadline. However, are you sure that your students haven't copied some info from the internet for their homework?

Anonymous said...

"he seems to perceive southerners as less honest and less polite as those in his home region."

It's funny, because that is exactly what i have experienced, all over the world. it's true for mexico, russia, spain, you name it. I don't know why...