I’m Puzzled


I saw a bulletin about my town’s first All-Girls’ Boy Scout of America troop. What? That’s not a typo or error. We’ll soon have an All-Girls’ Boy Scout troop. I don’t know who’s organizing it.


I think it’s possibly because of the revered Eagle Scout achievement, which perhaps the girls and/or organizers think is better than the Girl Scout’s Gold Award.

Another thought is that the Girl Scouts of America HQ takes more of the money from the sale of the cookies than the Boy Scouts do from their local troops’ fundraising. Probably it’s about the finances and the perceived status.

Power Struggle

I had my first power struggle of the year in class today. I don’t recall any problems like this last year and they’re rare in China. I’ve got a new class and another class with students I’ve taught before. The new class has a lot of willing students of varying levels and a few who lean towards incorrigible. Four were absent the first couple days which is unusual for China. Truants tend to show up the first week and then occasionally if there’s a speech they must give or a test to, in their case, fail. It puzzles me that they bother, but they do.

After I asked the administrators to see if these students had transferred out, the four appeared, no doubt unwillingly. I almost wish I hadn’t said anything. They act like middle school troublemakers, which I suppose isn’t as bad as acting like high school rebels. These boys giggle and poke each other when they aren’t playing with their phones. While some students were giving speeches I saw some kids playing with cell phones so I confiscated them promising to return them at the end of the class. I hoped to nip this problem in the bud.

During the break, the boy whose phone I had took his back. When class resumed I asked the students where the phone was. No one said anything. Eventually one boy said it was his phone and he wouldn’t use it. I told him he needed to put the phone back on my podium. Defiant, he refused. He was really quite a jerk about it.
I don’t believe in losing my cool, but I also didn’t want to cave in setting a bad precedent for the semester.  I repeated my directions to place the phone back on the podium and said he’d have it at the end of class. He refused. Then I said unless the phone was forfeited, the end of the week video would not be shown and we would do work in the book instead.
That worked as his classmates urged him to forfeit the phone.  My training as an elementary teacher again pays off as I teach in a Chinese university.
My first group of students who graduated last year has said that the “younger” generation is more selfish and rebellious. It seems like I got a taste of that today. I don’t think this group will be easy.  I hope I’m wrong.