No, I will NOT take off my clothes!

Today I had the BEST misunderstanding in class.

They both need to get outside for some fresh air!

Look at these 2 pictures in our book. We decided “Anna” on the left looks really hot (temperature, people!!), maybe stressed, possibly needing a drink of water. “Ben”, on the right, is clearly angry. (In fact, he reminds me of myself when our internet goes out and I’m interrupted in the middle of watching Grey’s Anatomy. Have you SEEN that show?! Man, it’s good! If I had no conviction for compassion I’d totally be Dr. Yang. She’s such a heartless witch and it. is. HI.larious.)

This unit was about making requests, offering suggestions, and…..whatever, stuff like that. Before we practice ourselves, the book gives examples and we have to decide which person, “Anna” or “Ben”, would be appropriate to say the phrase too. For example:

“Could I turn on the air conditioning for you?” – that one is clearly for “Anna”

“Would you like me to help you fix it?” – this one’s for “Ben”

Here’s a doozy: “Why don’t you take off some of your clothes?”….Now, this seems relatively reasonable for “Anna”. She’s wiping her forehead. Her face says, “Frick, it’s hot in here!” HOWEVER, she isn’t wearing her jacket/blazer anymore. What else is she supposed to take off exactly?!?! She’s already tried that one. Soooo………this is the 1st funny thing about class, to which my students got a good laugh.

I’m so glad there’s a 2nd misunderstanding, which revolves around this same phrase, to tell you about.

So then we practice using different phrases to ask for help and make requests…

Me: Kara, If you were “Anna” and needed to make a request, using “Could you please…”, what would you say?

Kara: Could you please give me a drink of water?

Me: Awesome, that’s a great idea! Ok, um, Vicky, if you were offering to do something for “Ben”, what would you say, using “Would you like me to…?”

Vicky: Would you like me to call IT?

Me: Yeah! Good one!….Mandy, what if “Ben” was making a request. What’s something he might ask for?

Mandy: Could you….Would you please…uh, um *scanning over page frantically, looking for something to say because she hasn’t been paying attention* Would you please take off some of your clothes?

Me: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!! You want me to take off my clothes?! I will NOT! *jokingly pulling my cardigan together*


Best part was, this all happened in my first class and I had to teach this same lesson 2 more times. Ooohh, it was good fun! I LOVE making my girls laugh!!


Hwa Nan Women’s (??) College

I’ve officially witnessed history being made. Hwa Nan Women’s College now has male students. What a sad day. All the tradition and history, and quite frankly, the only selling point of this private school, down the drain. As I cracked open my journal today, sipping my coffee, I turn to look out my window at the adjacent dorms to find a shirtless boy brushing his teeth. (Their sinks are out in the lanai…can you imagine when it gets cold? No thanks, Hwa Nan.) If I didn’t know any better I’d be dragging him and whatever girl outta there by their ear lobes! Lucky for him, he’s been properly admitted to this school and I can’t argue.

In other news, today was my 3rd (and final) 1st day of classes. It’s amazing what can happen in a day in China. Let’s review, shall we?

First off, how does this happen so quickly?? I don’t consider myself a neat freak, but I’ve been here for a 37 hrs, for cryin’ out loud!

Who needs a lesson plan?!

Next up we’ve got Ms. B in full force, high heels and all! I love it! My feet were killing me, but totally worth it! I can hear you already, “Who are you and what have you done with Emily??!!”

Can I be to blame if my girls can’t take any good frontal photo shots? I don’t know what to tell you.

I’m feeling good. I’ve got the girls smiling and laughing. I’ve already decided today was going to be an introduction day and “real” learning would start on Monday. Then this happens:

Me: Does anyone have any questions for me?

Student A: How old are you?

Me: Does anyone want to guess?

Student B: 25!

Me: I love you, but no.

Student C: 40!

Me: Get out.

I guessed I asked for it, but I gotta admit, it was hilarious.

I had a full morning and still half the afternoon to go. Everybody’s in for the 1:30pm class when I spot a shirt. I can’t make out what it says, but it’s hilarious, nonetheless. And of course, the girl has no idea what she’s wearing.

Then I told them that while English is really important and useful in life, sometimes it’s of no help. Yes, I want them to learn English, but I’d also like for them to be able to take away something a little deeper. So everyday I’ll try and come with something in Chinese that we’ll translate together.

1. I write the Chinese characters on the board.

2. They help me with the pinyin (English alphabet spelling of the sound of the characters)

3. They tell me different ideas of meanings in English.

4. I give them my translation.

5. We discuss what that means in our lives.


Here’s today’s:

The word of God never goes out void.

I did this with all 3 classes I had today. At the end of my 3rd class a girl walks up and shyly asks me if I’m a “chr-christ-christian”, spelling it out with her pointer finger. I tell her yes. “Me too” she replies with a big grin on her face. I give her a soft and subtle high-five, “Thanks God”, my soul sings. If even to be an encouragement just for this one little sister, I’ve found purpose of my being here.

Best 1st day of classes ever.

We proceeded to take pics with their names…none of which I can read in the photos. *backfire*


Don’t be shy!


This is one of my bigger classes.




Confessions of an ESL Teacher III

  • Today I said “I think I might kill someone” at least more than twice while grading vocabulary quizzes to find at least 5 stupid students who forgot to put their names on them. I know this seems harsh, but it’s the cardinal rule IF YOU WANT A GRADE!!
  • While listening to a student painfully stutter out her perspective of Rapunzel at English Corner, I quoted in my head, “T-t-t-today Junior!” from Billy Madison and laughed out loud, which in turn made everyone look at me.
  • I frequently apologize to my Chinese teacher because I know exactly how she feels towards the end of our 2 hour lesson, tired and ready to get the heck outta there.
  • Midterm is when I feel finished, June 15 is when I’m actually finished.
  • I turned in my syllabus almost 2 weeks late, and it wasn’t even the school that reminded me. I was cleaning my computer and noticed last semester’s syllabus, to which I replied “Oh crap! That was due, like, 2 weeks ago!” LOL!
  • I made a very easy-to-grade test so as not to take up too much time because I care more about the Men’s Olympic Weightlifting Olympic Trials this week than anything else in this world, including my students. I’m actually attending the competition. It is going to be OFF THE CHAIN! (I just squealed thinking about it!)
  • I got so mad today I almost threw a book. LOL! See, most of my students can’t pass with just tests (I think that’s pretty clear from my “Hilarious Answers” posts.) so being the nice teacher I am, I give them stupid easy homework assignment and pop quizzes in class to make easy 100’s to help bring up their grade. Yesterday I gave an in class assignment of writing a memo…IN CLASS, not homework, AND I let them work with partners. I saw one group who had already turned theirs in to me working on another so I ask, “What are you doing? I have yours already.” She laughs and points to the next group over. “You’re doing theirs for them?! Are they paying you?!” as I grab the paper and wad it up. Everyone in each party received a 0. I wasn’t even grading them. I was correcting them and giving a 100 in my grade book just for doing it and these lazy donkeys couldn’t even do that!! I was beyond angry. The frustrating part is, the school leaves it on the teacher to pass all his/her students. So if they don’t pass your class, you have to make another test until they pass. THIS PERPETUATES STUPIDITY and laziness because they know in the end they’ll get through regardless if they tried, cheated or not! You gotta let them fail sometimes!
  • I love teaching.
  • As I’m grading I find myself saying, “Well, she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed”.
  • Sometimes I give quizzes in class because I think, “What the crap am I gonna talk about for an hour and a half?!”
  • I cross-stitched for, like, 10 hours this weekend.
  • I also watched YouTube videos of Olympic Weightlifting for, like, 10 hours this weekend.
  •  I prepared for this week’s classes for, like, 45 min….same weekend.

To be continued…

A Simple Memo

The past few days in class we’ve been covering the skill of writing. Most of my students are trying to pass a test called CET4 in which they’ll receive a certificate (if passed), giving them better job possibilities and even higher testing options should they choose to keep excelling in English. Most of my students haven’t passed this test even though they’ve taken it 2 or 3 times. I’ve always known their English was poor, but I thought, “Surely it can’t be that hard of a test. They’re reading and listening skills aren’t so bad.”

Today I found out the answer to my wonderment: the writing skill, of which none of them have an ounce of. I let them write a memo with a partner in class today. After a full lesson on how to do it, step by step, they had their chance at it. Here are some of the papers I received. I have included all errors.

I'm surprised they don't just grab a used tissue and write it on that.

(The book) Question 46: Your department has just received several large new orders. The company has decided to ask everyone in the department to work five extra hours per week. Write a memo to all staff in the department: explaining the situation, saying when overtime will begin, and asking the staff to work overtime. Write 30-40 words. (I’m not sure how this could be more clear.)

“I have to tell all dept staff a bad news. Aco According to the development needs of the company, this week. I s started company needs a daily one hour of overtime. I hope you we can coperate and understand. thank You”

Our company has a good Due to the competition of from other company, Our company developed rapidly. under the command of our company. everyone need to work five extra hours per week, and the order will begin on from this wee Friday. I look forward to your understanding.”

“Because of we took a holiday in last week, so we must to overtime very day in this week. please inform each other, don’t absent. thanks” (Who said anything about a holiday?)

“We are attending a conference about producing 100 pairs of shoes All dept staff have to work overtime. Could you please tell all dept. staff we have to work overtime? And overtime will begin on 14-18 May.” (The memo is TO all dept staff. Who is “you”, and why are you asking him/her to tell everyone? And who said anything about a conference for producing 100 pairs of shoes? Just Say No!)

“Today, we d have received several large new orders. So everyone should have 5 extra hours per week. The start time is April 10. The overtime is April 16.” (Ok, we need to define “overtime” again.)

I no longer wonder why they can’t pass CET4.

Would You Rather?

You know that game “Would You Rather”? It’s a silly ice-breaker game where you ask people what they’d prefer between two evils. Well, I’ve got one for you:

Would you rather die by being set on fire OR by going to English Corner and listening to broken English for 2 hours after teaching ESL for 8 hours that same day?


English Corner is, by far, the hardest thing for me to make myself attend. I love these girls here at Hwa Nan, but 1) Those girls aren’t MY girls. They’re from different departments. Yes, I do play favorites. 2) No EFL (English as a First Language) speakers stand around in a circle taking uninterrupted turns answering pre-staged questions. In fact, I’m not sure any language works that way. It’s not natural. You have a meal together, you get coffee, drinks, whatever, but you don’t call your friend two days before and say, “Hey, on Friday night, let’s meet under the light post and talk about these three questions. 1.Would you rather be a bird or a fish? 2.What’s your favorite movie? and 3.How many siblings do you have?” Other than these questions being the most-boring surface-y things to talk about (yeah yeah yeah, I know, good for language learners), NOBODY CARES! Who the crap cares if you want to be a bird or a fish, it ain’t happenin’! Let’s get down to business! What are you passionate about? Did you know Taiwan is really it’s own country?! What do you think about Tiananmen Square or the Cultural Revolution? (Ok, so maybe those might be too touchy, but you get my point.)

My neighbor, Laihar, brought me some dark chocolate to thank me and encourage me to keep coming even though we both openly admit to hating it. LOL! Even patient Laihar hates it? Wow, it must be bad. I just told her I can’t help but remember that even though I don’t see the benefit, God’s purposes are bigger than mine and I never know who I’m going to encourage or connect with, so I just keep on going. (And then I bribed her into giving me dark chocolate, otherwise I’m out.)

I gotta say, the last question up for discussion tonight was a good one, one that struck me deep.

If you only had 3 days to live, what would you do?

So typical right? Yeah, maybe for most, but not for those of us with eternal glory waiting. My immediate thought was spending time with my parents and family, binging on canned frosting and bacon/swiss/mushroom burgers, blah, blah, blah. Then I thought, “But I’m gonna see them again. No, I would spend those three days with all my friends who don’t believe in God for I may never see them again.” It was kind of emo, but always makes me smile to think about eternity. Only God knows our hearts, and while I literally ache some days to just GO ALREADY, and be with my Heavenly Father forever, my purpose is here, beyond my limited scope. And while I slave away here at Hwa Nan (HA! Yeah right!) I will be on my knees each and every day to stand in the gap for those that haven’t made the decision yet to follow Christ. Who knew this sarcastic old soul could be so in love with people, the way Christ wanted me to be? I certainly would’ve never guessed it.

Nope, not done yet.

Then I thought “If I’ve got eternity waiting on me. What is keeping me from selling out 100%? I’ve got NOTHING to lose. Material things are just that. Money is easy come, easy go. I need food, a roof and clothing: check, check, check.” None of us are promised another day so what is it that I’m holding onto?

Hilarious Answers: Quiz 2

It’s here, what you’ve all been waiting for, and I couldn’t be more excited to share my laughter with you. The test was similar to the first and they’re always allowed to use their books, but no cell phones or dictionaries this time. If they were paying attention in class and taking notes (which I tell them to write in their workbooks) they should have every answer and explanation. Let’s begin, shall we.


Instructions: Write your name and class number at the top of this paper. Do not write your student number. (Please keep in mind I thoroughly explained how important it is to read all instructions before writing anything down. This was part of their test.)

Student: Chinese name (in Chinese characters, of course, which I can’t read….they all choose an English name specifically for this class) and 201020076 (her student number) (*Sigh* “Here we go!”)


Question: What should you underline? (The class before the test we discussed the skill of taking tests and how to succeed.)

(Book: Underline the answer in the text.)

Student: important part (True, but what is the important part called?)

Another student: make checking quicker (I later realized they were trying to answer “Why”. E for effort, but E doesn’t have any points behind it.)


Question: What should you do to your answers once you have finished the test?

(Book: Use any time you have left to check your answers.)

Student: Confident

Another student: guess (Honesty, can’t beat it.)


Question: What 4 countries are the company’s markets?

Student: salary sheets

Another student: sales markets

Another student: Veronique LeBouf, Manchester, Paula Stewart, Rome (Hey, you understood “4”!)

Another student: Rome, Florida, Sarah Longman (A city, a state, and a person…not quite.)

Another student: France, Italy, Spain, Britain (That’s exactly right. BORING! I need to make my tests harder.)


Question: Where was reliability in 1993? (There are graphs and charts to look at.)

Student: Britain (You do know reliability isn’t the name of a person, right?)


Question: What is the name of First Group’s subsidiary?

Student: Juliet Sharman (Me: I’m going to start a campaign called “Real Companies Don’t Buy Women“.)


Question: What kind of graph shows sales by product range?

Student: trangea (Wait, is there some kind of newfangled graph I don’t know about? *Clicks Google*)

Another student: E (What list of letters are you choosing this from?)


Question: Why has punctuality continued to improve this year?

Student: Government reducing it’s financial support (Now THAT sounds like a can of worms!)


Question: What company makes office furniture and supplies?

Student: I don’t not (…So, you do?…doesn’t matter, wrong.)


Question: Who is Juliet Sharman giving the presentation to?

Student: Earlier (We need to talk about names. Did Beyond write this? *flips over page to look at name*)(I ACTUALLY have a student named Beyond.)

Another student: Juliet Sharman (Maybe in preparation, like for practice, but I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about in the book.)


Question: What was the reason for growth of annual passenger revenue?

Student: bad service (In China, this makes perfect sense. I don’t know why, it just does.)


Question: Write the website “www dot crossfit dot com”. (These were supposed to by my freebie questions because there’s a box that gives you the symbol for the different words. Ex: colon = :, backslash = \, etc.)

Student: (WHAT?!)

Another student:


Question: Write the email address “emily underscore forward slash backslash underscore colon at QQ dot com”.

Student: (Makes perfect sense from 4 pages back, but no.)

Another student: No. (Well, then it’s wrong. I don’t know what to tell you.)


Question: Which is more formal, a note or a memo?

Student: sales

Another student: ASAP

Another student: Pan-European (Where do they come up with this stuff? I don’t even remember reading that.)


Question: Where is this company based?

Student: Veronique LeBouf (Sounds like a loose woman if you ask me.)

Another student: Where it is based. (YES! No.)


Question: By how much did punctuality grow from 1993 to 1995?

Student: reduce 6% (Nothing on this entire page reduced by 6%. What book were you using?)


Question: What is the possible day and time of the meeting?

(Book: Monday a.m.)

Student: Helsinki tomorrow (Sounds like a James Bond film.)

Another student: tomorrow (Not on your schedule, by the book’s schedule.)

Another student: pricing strategies


Question: What do Henry, Sue and Mike need to discuss?

Student: Yes, they do. (Reminds me of “The Other Sister” when the bartender says to Daniel [the mentally handicapped boy] “Merry Christmas!” and he replies, “Yes it is!”)

Another student: Yes.


Question: Who does Henry need to call?

Student: Henry (Himself?! When was the last time you called yourself? Don’t answer that!)


Question: What does Mike need Sue to give him ASAP?

Student: Yes.


Question: Who does the prize for Salesperson on the Year go to?

Student: World Cup year (I’m pretty sure this is information from the last test. READ YOUR DIRECTIONS!!!)


Question: What 2 things is Figure 4 about?

Student: get up (No, it’s “Get out!” and it’s an expression used when you can’t believe what someone told you. This is not the right context for that.)


Question: Answer each question with A-H from diagram on Pg 34.

Student: 1. DF  2. AF  3. DH  4. AB  5. CD (Clever with the two answers. Even if I took one of the answers, you’d still get every single one wrong. Now THAT’S horrible guessing.)

Turns out all my classes did better overall than the last test. We’re moving up, people! Before you know it, I won’t even be able to blog about it anymore because they’ll all be answering the questions correctly! I’ve learned that most of the time the really ridiculous answers are the ones they had no idea on, but put something just so they wouldn’t leave them blank, which I applaud. I get a lot of “I don’t know” and “it doesn’t say”. Some students did the same, some did worse, but what really makes my heart go pitter-patter is to see a girl who didn’t pass the first one, pass with flying colors on the second one. I’m so proud of them when they do that!

The curve will still be ginormous on this test.

A Senior Moment

“Do you have class tonight?” Laihar asks me at dinner.

“No, I don’t. It’s so nice.”

“Oh good, you can have a rest then” she says.

******************* (Does this mean time lapse? Well, it does here)

I was in bed early tonight. In need of taking a shower, (yes, I was playing the shower game again. This is not uncommon people. You could probably just assume I’m dirty all the time and be right. See: Stinky Girl) I decided against it, “Ah, I’ll just do it tomorrow before class”.

I’m sitting in bed, computer in my lap, updating myself on all the awesome blogs I’m nerd-ishly following. I’ve got both my heaters on (in my room), mochi next to me for those times I’m waiting on my page to load and it’s a great time to reach away from the computer. I’m in complete and utter comfortable bliss…at 7pm. “Shoot! I forgot to set my alarm clock in the other room.”


Crap! Who the…What could they possibly need? “Hold on! I’m coming!” Dangit! I’m so comfortable, my sheets were just warming up, and here you are rapping on my door just to make me get up and let them get cold again….”Hi!”

It’s two of my students.

“You called us”, they say.

I give them a blank stare….”You need your test back?” I’m so clueless.

“No, many people downstairs waiting.”


I’ve been called an old soul several times. I love going to bed at ungodly hours (early, that is) and waking up at 5-5:30am. I’ve been drinking coffee since before I could talk (the last drops out of my grandmother’s mug). I still write thank you cards and keep a planner with pen and paper because technology irks me. I consider myself wise beyond my years (sort of), but tonight I REALLY PROVED THEM….right, 100% on the money. I completely had a senior moment.

PS: This is the one time deciding against a shower really paid off.

PSS: My alarm is set.