In praise of … praise

It is always nice to receive positive feedback. My students have the opportunity to fill in online comments about their teachers. This is all done in Chinese, but Google translate browser extension translates the Chinese into English. Not everyone has filled in a comment, but it is interesting to read those that have.

Maybe because of the translation, the English does not always read as it perhaps should. Last semester, the feedback was overwhelming positive and some of the comments were interesting. ‘Beauty and wisdom coexist with humour and seriousness’, was one. ‘A handsome and humorous engineer of souls’, was another. This semester, I did not get any as poetic as those, though one did simply read (in English) ‘Male god’. Some are particular nice about my teaching: ‘The teacher is humorous and good at class and is good at cultivating our ability to speak English’, which is what I always try to do. Humorous seems to have been a pretty common comment, though I did apologise for my poor jokes this semester. Usually I will say something and students understand, maybe even find it funny. Sometimes, however, I will say something and a few will laugh but others will stare blankly, until someone explains it. Very occasionally, I will say something and no one will laugh. The tumbleweed bounces by. In my first-year teaching, at RDFZ, I gave my students my own feedback sheet and more than one mentioned I needed to be more humorous – though I do not know if they themselves were trying to be funny, or if they were serious! Perhaps I have improved now, given one comment from this semester which read, ‘Your jokes are really funny. Love ya’.

I also tentatively checked my timetable today, for next year. It seems, for the first semester at least, it has been uploaded. This may change before I get back, and I don’t know where all the classrooms are. I would have twenty minutes to get between buildings, which I may be able to change, but in terms of the actual days, it is not too bad. I will work Monday afternoon, between about 14:00 and 18:00, and Tuesday morning, 08:00 to 12:00. I still need to plan my actual lessons for my second-year students, but in the meantime, I will leave two more comments from students. One read: ‘A full-fledge foreign teacher, from an exotic country, but caring for Chinese students, thank you’. The final comment, simply read, ‘I love Mark’.

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