My student Leon, whom maybe I have mentioned and whom I actually like quite a bit and who's English level is quite low in the scheme of things, tries and I think that he likes me so he tries harder. He made a 95% on the test over a few chapters of Catcher in the Rye yesterday. The test was open book and I gave the questions to the students beforehand. Yet, a few of them, Lillian in particular, did poorly. She came out with 26%.
Leon actually got a better mark than some of the other boys who are better in English than he is. I made the comment that he got such a high mark because he studied English all weekend and didn't goof off like the other boys do. This, of course, sent the other boys into a tirade. They proceeded to rail against him about how he just plays computer games and that he is dumb and all of that sort of stuff which was all somewhat priceless. Not to mention that the boys still insist on calling him Ricky which annoys him and makes me laugh and I have to consciously remember to call him Leon, though Ricky sometimes slips out of my mouth.
Honestly, since he made such a high mark, I assumed he cheated somehow. I am not sure how he could have cheated because the test was open book. He answered all 25 short answer questions. The only thing that I would count as cheating is if he copied off of someone else or if he copied from his study sheet which I caught him doing neither. Really, I am more than a little mystified by his achievement.
He could have went through the book and circled the answers beforehand, but that would not have been cheating. That would have just been forethought. Forethought is allowed. So, I do not know how he could have cheated. In as much, like I said, I really do not know how he was able to pull off such a high mark. I suppose that is neither here nor there when it comes right down to it.
At the moment, however, Leon is in somewhat deep crapola with Sharon. For the last few weeks, he has had a real problem coming to morning exercises and morning classes which has sent Sharon into a small fury. Of course, all of this is always slightly humorous to me because I know that she takes the students welfare sometimes a bit more serious than their parents do.
At this point, I have played this education game long enough to know which students have parents who seriously want them to learn and which students have parents that stick them in a private school because they know not what else to do with these children that they have been too busy to attend. Though I have not met Leon's parents, I put them in the category of being a bit lackadaisical about Leon's education.
This morning, Sharon called his phone and it was out of service. This renewed her fury. Not to goad Sharon but to humor her, I told her that Leon was going to be 'out of service' when I got a hold of him which gave her a huge belly laugh.
"Out of service, he will be," she emphatically agreed.
"Have you called his parents?" I asked.
"Yes, his mother says he is sick, maybe. That is why he does not come."
"He is lazy. He is a lazy boy. He signed paper saying he would not miss anymore classes. Now, he is not here. He should not be allowed to attend class. I will call the center."
With a renewed fury, she called our employer. Maybe I have explained this in the past. I feel as if I should explain it again. I teach at a private school housed in a public school. This private school is expensive to attend. Nevertheless, some of the students are quite spoiled, spoiled to the point that their parents do not know quite what to do with them. Leon is not necessarily one of the spoiled boys. He is respectful and when he comes to class, I hardly ever catch him goofing off which means he is either really good at being sneaky about goofing off or he just does not do it. I am not sure which.
Thus Sharon called our employer to say that she was going to bar Leon from classes which I thought was quite ballsy of her. Most of the time, there is no sort of discipline because the students are paying and so they are more like clients than regular students. Nevertheless, I admired Sharon's tenacity in the matter. I told her I would stand behind her in whatever decision she made.
A week ago Sunday night at 2 am, I got back from Hainan. By the time I got back to my apartment and settled into bed, it was 3:00 am. Hainan was fantastic but not in the beach bum sort of way I would have expected but in a whole other way but I will talk about that more later.
A few days after I got back, I finally took the time to unpack the few things that I had packed in a small bag. After I unpacked, I realized that I was missing my journal. Since I was so tired when I slept walk into my apartment from the cab from the airport, I thought perhaps I had taken it out of my bag and not remembered. I did a quick search around my apartment and did not find it. Maybe, I had put it on my desk, by my bed, in the kitchen, in the fridge. I was so sleepy when I came in that I could have done anything with the journal.
Then, of course, it hit me in that sort of foggy mental memory that you have when you are slightly frazzled and sleep deprived. I seem to have remembered putting the journal in the seat pocket of the plane when I realized I was too tired to write anything. This memory was tentative at best but still what I seem to remember happened to the journal. When I did this, I told myself I must not forget the journal. However, I was half asleep when the plane landed and I do not remember grabbing the journal when Michael and I drowsily disembarked from the plane and stumbled to a taxi cab.
When I came to this realization, I called Michael and asked him if he could call the airline and see if anyone had found the journal. Since my journals are important - I write exclusively in Moleskins - these are somewhat expensive as well. So not only did I lose the writing which is important to me; I also lost the journal which is a bit of a double whammy I suppose. I tried to not get too upset. I tried to keep myself calm in the matter. Worse things could have happened.
That night, after checking with the airline, Michael called me back and told me the worker did not find the journal. He gave me the number to call to check myself. The next day, I called from school because I knew that I would be talking with someone who was not fluent in English. If they could not understand me, I could have Edward (the Chinese English teacher of whom I am fond) talk to them and he would be able to clear up any miscommunication.
This turned out to be a very good idea. Before I dialed the airline, I told Edward of the situation. When I dialed the number, I asked the woman who answered if she spoke English.
"A little," she told me.
Not wanting to get into a frustrating situation that could bring on a meltdown, I handed the phone to Edward. He explained the situation to her. They talked for a few minutes. He wrote down another number. When he got off the phone he told me they did not find my journal. He showed me the other number.
At this point, Sharon came into the office. Although, I was trying to find my journal, this was of no importance to her. She had a question for me concerning English. I answered it the best I could but I was somewhat preoccupied. Then, I started to copy the number down that Edward had written down on one of his student's exercises. He had put the exercise away. He did not know why I did not copy the number down when he wrote it down. I did not want to explain that Sharon had interrupted me. Really, I do like her quite a bit but there are sometimes when she can be quite the annoyance. Granted, this is becoming less frequent.
I then dialed the other number. A man answered. I asked him if he spoke English. He said maybe a bit. Once again, I handed the phone to Edward. He talked to the man briefly. He wrote down yet another number.
"That number is for international tickets," he told me. "Here is another number."
I looked at the number and realized it was the same number as the first number.
"I think your diary may be difficult to find," Edward told me.
With that, I gave the journal up for lost. Really, I never lose anything and I suppose in the scheme of things this is not that major but I kept thinking about how I had spent so much time documenting the Hainan getaway. And, I really hated losing the Moleskin. Now, I would have to buy a new Moleskin. The other thing that really chapped my buttocks was that I had told myself to not forget the journal when I put it in the seat pocket but then I had fallen asleep on the plane and I forgot it. That seems to always be the case when something like this happens. You tell yourself not to forget to do this or remember to do this and you inadvertently forget which makes it that much worse.
Nevertheless, I tried to accentuate the positive as the saying goes. As I said earlier, I hardly ever lose anything. I would just mark this down as a loss on my karma calendar and get on with it.
Of course, I did formulate a plan. I could make the pain in the ass trek out to the airport and look for the journal myself if I could locate the lost and found. I knew it had to be somewhere. I was pretty sure that it must be in some big warehouse under someone's vacuum packed boxed - ready to boil - boar's head. I decided to think about this for a day. Maybe, I would go to the airport to inquire about the journal over the weekend. That was a thought. Then I would know for sure and I could once and for all put the missing journal to rest. As I said before, something worse could have befallen me.
Speaking of something worse, when I came into my afternoon class, Danny promptly pointed to his temple. I looked and then I squinted and saw the flesh colored bandage that his hair covered.
"What happened?" I asked.
"Running," he replied.
"Running," he said once more with even more emphasis.
At this point, since his English is limited he had to pantomime the rest. He pantomimes running and looking back as he is running.
"Wall!" Kevin interjected.
"Wall? You ran into the wall?"
"Yes!" He said emphatically.
"You were looking back and you ran into the wall."
"Kevin hurt back of him head."
"Kevin?" I asked and somewhat exclaimed at the same time in what must of sounded a bit fatherly. At this, Kevin rubbed the back of his head. What happened.
“Pole,” he replied.
“You ran into a pole?”
“Yes,” he shook his head.
This is where Danny interjected, “I running, turn see Kevin.”
At this, Danny demonstrates more in depth what happened. He turned around and saw that Kevin who it seems had been chasing him ran into a pole which made Danny laugh and not watch where he was going. Not watching ahead, Danny then proceeded to run into a wall which I assume was probably the corner of the wall.
“Much bleed,” Danny tells me and with this he shows me the small droplet of blood - a souvenir on his school uniform warm up jacket.