Wednesday, January 11, 2012

School's out (nearly)

The final exams are done and marked, and all that's left is to figure out if all those numbers next to student's names mean anything. My hunch is that they don't... but I doubt that this will lead to a collapse in quantitative examination of high school students or reform of education. After all, people like numbers. Maybe because you can usually find someone who's number is smaller than yours and feel good about it. I am not a number, I am a free man, I hope.

On Saturday night we will get on the night train from Kunming, the start of what will hopefully be five weeks of exploring around Southern China, Northern Vietnam, a bit of Thailand, and back to China again. We've made a big effort to plan as much of our travelling overland as makes reasonable sense, so I'm happy about that. We will still be squandering the Earth's precious resources by flying over a couple of large stretches... but I'll make sure I feel slightly guilty while I do it. We might even end up going to Hong Kong on the train at the end of our trip and then figure out how to get back to school in time for next semester.

We will update from wherever we are, when we get around to it... and that's a promise.

Next semester I will be somewhat relieved from my task a an English teacher. No, I haven't been fired (surprisingly). I will be teaching "Introduction to Math(s) and Science" which I think will be much more fun for me... though possibly not the students. It's still teaching English language, but talking about fractions and the carbon cycle give me a much warmer feeling than writing the word "poetry" at the top of my lesson plan. I like poetry and reading things, and even writing pointless things myself (an obvious example being this) but really have never got my head around the idea of being taught how to appreciate poetry, let alone marking a writer's poem. It's those numbers again. I'm looking forward to teaching numbers rather than sticking them on poems (or free men for that matter).

So we're off for some adventure and some exploration, no doubt with some misadventure and frustration thrown in. We'll hopefully be hiking, rock-climbing, paddleboarding, and possibly even sleazing around Asia and find Yongchuan a warmer and springlike place when we return. Maybe they'll put some plastic lambs and rabbits in the park to celebrate.

On that note, here is an entirely unrelated HDR photo I took when we were at Tiger Leaping Gorge. I was pleased with the weirdness.