Maximising STT, failure within earshot

IMG_20120217_155054While I was in Shenyang, I got to spend a lot of time in one of the local Starbucks. To paint the scene, the first thing you hit after you’ve gone through the revolving doors is the counter. You’re greeted (in Chinese of course) by the staff. I stroll up to the counter and order my usual hot chocolate, grande’ size. The shop is normally crowded but I’m usually able to find a seat. Coffee shops tend to be places where all sorts of people meet. Not uncommon that I’ve seen foreigners congregate here for whatever reasons. I’ve seen a bible club run, meetings occur (locals and foreigners alike) and of course the 1 to 1 English lesson. I have to say that this guy was talking way too much. When I took my CELTA training, the specific teaching footnote was to maximise student talk time (STT). They are afterall, there to practise their English, not to sit and hear someone preach. Having to sit in close proximity to the ‘1 to 1’ couple, was annoying. CELTA, I think, had turned me into a stern critic of English teaching. This way or nothing. To be fair, the student did look on the shy side, or heaven forbid was seeking advice, but there’s always room for improvement, on both sides of the fence.

11 11 equals, chocolate confectionary

Peppero is a Korean snack, while November 11 is known as “Peppero day” since the date looks like peppero sticks.

I and quite few others (namely adults) think that the day was purposely created by the makers of peppero to sell more product.

Students often give them to teachers, suitors woo their perspective lovers with baskets full of them. I sort of buy into the idea, as my wife likes them. I hide boxes of them in unexpected places for her to find, like her seat cushion or her pillow case. 😀

The school that I was at today gave out as part of the lunch, a ‘dessert’ of bread sticks (about as large as your middle finger) with one end dipped in chocolate. Possibly as a manoeuver to save the students parents money. Quite smart, tactically.

In addition to that, all the teachers received a packet of pepperos. This is the packet you see in the photo. It always tastes the sweetest when it’s free. Yum.

Background information about peppero.

Only a belt sander can smooth over the roughness, subtlety not being their strong point

It’s probably the worst sort of Korean I could come across. I’ve always thought that the Koreans were a bit ‘culturally slow’. Yesterdays encounter proved it. It always tends to be the older generation, who insist on ignoring me since I’ve never been introduced.
It-is-so-f**king-annoying. A prime example being an older male teacher at the school, who obviously thought he is king of the roost. Clearly I was standing next to him, clearly I was talking to my contact teacher there. link. He had to know who I was, but insisted on talking to my contact teacher.

Some of my feelings at the time can be surmised by the following quotes:

It’s a Samoan, young guy, dick thing – Falani, Outrageous fortune, S5 E16
Clearly I’d have to modify the quote to fit, but the intent is clear.
You’re a dick – Wolverine, X-men
Nah, he’s not going to get it.

On their part it’s insecurity, passive-aggressiveness, xenophobia, even ignorance or all of the above. It’s the rougher side of the culture, something I hope that they’ll smooth over with time.