Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unable to make an impression

Unable to make a lasting impression -I obviously fit in too well...

Being back in the Chinese classroom is proving to be great for this blog –from the conversations I’m having with my teacher I know it’s going to be a lot of great blog material for the future… unless I decide to change my teacher that it. There might be a risk.

Yesterday I had my second lesson, which started off quite well. My teacher (we can call her Candy –her English name is quite similar to that) started off by writing some sentences on the white board as I had asked for her to teach me more grammar and less school-book-stuff.

At first, Candy wrote every character carefully, almost so carefully that I wanted to tell her that I’m used to black boards and chalks, and teachers that are 50+ and that are writing in a speed that could be described as nothing else but fast and furious. Anyway, as soon as Candy realized that I could read everything she wrote, no matter if she didn’t draw the lines perfectly (it was pretty basic, simple stuff) she caught on and it didn’t take long before the board was a hot mess of ugly characters (you see, the difference between black boards and white boards are that on a black board, Chinese handwriting, no matter how messy, still looks readable and good. On a while board, however, it simply looks ugly). I obediently read everything out loud and I stopped her from constantly wanting to put pinyin on top of some of the “more complicated characters” that she wrote. Suddenly she turned around to me:

-You have studied Chinese before, right?

-Eh… YES!

-Are you still studying now?

-Eh… no, I’m working now.

-Ah, OK. How long did you study for before?

-A couple of years…. But… like… Candy, don’t you remember this? I told you all of this last time we had a lesson together?

-Oh you did?
Candy turned around, giving me a blank, once over.

-No sorry, I don’t remember anything about you! She said and turned back.

-Eh… right?! I was something in between shocked, offended and amused! I have to say that I appreciated her honesty at that point, it would have been worse if she would have lied to me. Still, it was a bit awkward.

-But how do you know what I want to study?

-Oh, I wrote it down.

-But if you don’t even remember what level I’m on…

Another blank stare. Enough of the talking Jonna.

We went on for a while. Unfortunately, the lesson still turned out to be too easy for me, and towards the end, Candy kept throwing in English every time she wanted to explain a word (even simple words like 计划) she would translate for me, making me more annoyed by the minute. She obviously had not listened one bit to the things I told her last time!

Once we finished the leasson I couldn’t help but asking her:

-Hey Candy, just to ask you, how come you don’t remember anything of the things I told you last time?

-Oh… well you know. It’s probably the same as with you foreigners. When you meet Chinese people you think we all look the same. Then after a while you start seeing a difference.

-Yeah, sure… but that’s like.. the people we meet on the street. Not the people that we actually interact with.

I was quiet for a while until I finally asked:

-So you don’t remember anything about me, about where I am from or what I do?

-No, you obviously didn’t make any deep impression on me last time we met.

Touché! And that's how we ended our lovely Chinese lesson for this week!

And now, my friends, let’s raise our glasses for Chinese honesty. In your face, Jonna! Don’t come here thinking you are special! Cheers!


Sara said...

I would absolutely change my teacher after that! I know they say everything they are thinking of but there should be some limit. And those lessons seem to be waste of money and time for you.

Anonymous said...

Hysterical! I'd definitely find another teacher. Candy sounds a little flakey.

mochi said...

haha that's hilarious. What a goof, your teacher.
You sure it is the same person from last time?

Don Tai said...

You know that is not just honesty. This person shows a lack of attention to detail or quality of work, especially bad for a teacher. You need to find another teacher as quickly as possible. Personally I would also complain to the management as well. This person needs work that does not involve talking to other people. Teachers should be interested in their students, true in any language.

This is not a Chinese culture issue, but a personality flaw. There are better teachers out there, and not hard to find.

Anonymous said...

she doesn't like you. Don't waste your time and money with her. find someone better!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hehe, yeah guys, I hear you, and I see your point. As Don Tai pointed out -this is about personality not culture differences.. So I will do myself a big favor and change teacher!

Jewels said...

You need to borrow that other girls red shoes. That will make an impression. A sea of black clothing and then BAM! Red shoes.

조안나 said...

But it makes for a good story at least!

Martin said...

Jonna, you are such a great story teller. I always enjoy reading your adventures. This was interesting, and could feel some of your frustration.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Jewels -worth a shot. Unfortunately all of my shoes are black.. or hang on, I have a pair of blue, sequence pumps!?!? (Don't ask...). Wonder if they will work? Chi girls love shiny things...

조안나 -yeah it did, didn't it?! :)

Martin -thanks, that's nice to hear!!

TG said...

I'm with Sara here, you should change her (and so you'll do, as you say). I think she's too blunt here. I know in Taiwan, they would never say something like that, even if that's what they would think, they're too polite.

Anonymous said...

Just because you are blond and from Sweden, every Chinese should remember you and what level of Chinese you speak after meeting you once.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Anonymous –No, they should definitely not remember what level of Chinese that I am on ”just because I am blonde and from Sweden,” but rather because that person is supposed to be my private Chinese teacher. When paying someone for teaching you there are certain things you expect: my teacher remembering my educational history being such thing. Is that too much to ask for?