Thursday, September 10, 2009

Emotional Roller Coaster

How to get high self-esteem:

Move to China, become a teacher, and wait for September 10, Teachers' Day, day smiles, day of a million unwarranted compliments.

Yes, we already had a Teachers' Day banquet, at which, yes, I already won a stair-stepper machine, which, yes, seems less like an exercise machine and more like a clever parody of one designed by an alien who has seen pictures of humans but has no idea how they move.

But today was the actual Teachers' Day, and what a day it was. I loved my students before this, but now I love them, like, a lot. A lot a lot. Gus and I got 5 cards today from 5 different classes. Most of them included personal notes from everyone in the class. Example:
"John: Well, the first time I saw you, I'm aware that you're the new oral teacher. Handsome and mmm... in fact, I thought you're from Turkey until the second time I met you at class."
Clearly, she has confused me with the famous Turkish musician Tarkan, a singer "best known for the use of sexual and romantic themes in his work" (thanks, wikipedia), who is the only Turkish person I can think of right now other than Orhan Pamuk.

Lots of the notes are super cute and breathlessly flattering in the way that only young Chinese girls can be (also some Chinese boys, e.g. "Although I am a boy, I still want to say, You guys are gorgeous!"), but some of them are touching, this-is-why-I-love-teaching notes:
"Thank you for your tremendous patience and kindness in class."
 "You two are just like two sun, light up our life!"
"You guys are the greatest foreign teachers I've ever met."
"Never do I enjoy English before you appear! Happy Teachers' Day." 
If any of my students ever find my blog, I want you to know that I'm not joking when I say I get up every morning excited to teach you, and I admire you all very much. You make teaching worthwhile, so Happy Teachers' Day to you, too.

How to get low self esteem:
Be forced to wear this racing-style suimsuit in a Chinese pool.

I actually used to have a swimsuit about this size. When I was four.
Speaking of Tarkan and suimsuits, my favorite sentence from the Tarkan wikipedia article:
In 2001, when Tarkan was moving houses in New York, a worker stole what the domestic media tried to portray as compromising photos which suggested his homosexuality, but were simply photos with other men in swimwear in public places.
Ah, the ol' "straight men wearing swimwear with each other in public places" gambit. I know it well. Except the opposite.