Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I am doing right now

In addition to Oral English class, I also teach elective courses each semester. The first meeting of my elective is this coming Saturday, and today was the enrollment day, where all the students decide which elective class they’d like to take.

It did not go 100% as planned.

The school computer system is out. The system. The entire data and communication network on which our school functions is not currently functioning. The email servers were down last week, for example, which meant that the teacher who works in the student administration office had to send me class rosters from her personal account. Her foxmail username is Chinese for “little fishie.” Professionalism has really taken a hit.

So our students had to sign up the old pencil-and-paper way, which meant that all the teachers had to sit at desks in the courtyard with a piece of paper so that students could come around to register. This would have worked great if, like other teachers, I had had 20 - 30 students interested in taking my class, since that would have given each of them a chance to come up, ask questions, and calmly write down their enrollment information. Unfortunately I did not have 20 or 30 students interested in taking my class. Over the course of 40 minutes in the courtyard, I had 132 students sign up to take my class. This is a somewhat larger number.

What am I doing right now? I’m using a random number generator to pick 50 students (the class limit), and then I’m typing up the list of those 50 students and sending it to little fishie so she can put it in the card catalog she is using in lieu of a functioning computer network.

Luckily I get paid in stacks of cash so if this Guangzhou/Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior techno-dystopia situation continues I will still be making my moneys. Until the RMB crashes and all debts start being reckoned in gallons of gasoline, at which point my decision not to learn how to drive a car will reveal itself to have been a fundamental strategic blunder.