My new school is really annoying me. Actually the Chinese system is slowly killing me from the stress and hassle.
I got my schedule from the school, which is only 13 periods of class instead of 16. I will teach three different subjects. Of the three classes, I was issued one book for one class, the second class does not have their books yet, and one class does not have a book at all. The "no book at all" class is called Listening and Speaking. My Chinese co-teacher, a young girl in her early 20s who has been out of school herself for only one year did not know what the class is. She asked her boss, and that boss really did not know.
We had this meeting a week ago. So, like a good teacher, I lesson planned the one book that I do have and expected to start work Tuesday the 11th. I got a phone message from the Chinese teacher Monday evening announcing that classes were not going to begin until Sept. 25th. That was somewhat of a relief, but was told that I will have to do the "no book at all" class Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
The "no book at all" class is tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 and it lasts until 4:05. To make matters worse, my Chinese co-teacher called me and more or less called in sick on me, so I am stuck for 2 hours and 15 minutes with almost nothing to do besides the first day basic introduction class. I asked my Chinese teacher what I am supposed to do with the class, and her idea is to go to the bookstore, buy a book, and then craft my own class completely from scratch. I'll generally end up having one book that none of the students have, and end up making 40 or so copies a week.
My FAO officer is a young woman who I ended up nicknaming "Dingbat". (Dingbat is her name on my cell phone) Dingbat is a nice girl, but extremely scatter brained. I have (I hope had by tomorrow afternoon) a problem concerning a legal release letter, my old boss (another f'ing Dingbat) gave me a letter that was no good since he didn't "have the right" to hire foreign teachers, the parent company in Shanghai issued it to me, so I had to go through the trouble of getting another letter. I have it now, and hope that this one flys.
Enter Dingbat. If you are an American, do you remember the late Don Knotts? Imagine Don Knotts coming back as a Chinese woman. Really uptight, nervous, everything seems to be an emergency and one that does not know, or is too lazy to get her facts straight. Tomorrow, she will go to the PSB to get my Residence Permit. She wanted to meet me at the police station at 9:30, but gave my Chinese friend a funny address (with two different address numbers) that made no sense. So, I asked her (through text messaging) if I could just ride with her in the morning to the police office. For some reason, in her dippy, nervous fashion told me that it would be inconvient, so we settled on me getting a cab, calling Dingbat and hoping she knows where to go. Through our text messaging, we decided on a 9 AM meetup at the station. (I don't trust her sense of direction, since she could not find the medical office and just aimlessly rode around and made a bunch of phone calls to find the place which was a big facility, in the middle of town.)
At 9:15 in the PM, Dingbat gives me a message telling me that she needs more pictures. "WTF!" I thought to myself. So I instinctively get out of the apartment to the photo shop hoping they were open. They weren't. Shit. So I called Dingbat up and asked her what happened to the eight pictures I gave her. She more or less told me that she left the pictures in her office. Problem is that the school office is in Xiasha, about a 45 minute traffic jam away from Hangzhou. Today I had almost the whole day free. I could of went to the picture place anytime today. Her telling me at 9 PM tells me that she is generally incompetant.
So she told me that I could come to school tomorrow, teach the "no book class" and she alone will go to the Police Station, while I am stuck there with the "no book at all" class. I hang up the phone and decide to hit this computer room. Around midnight, Dingbat calls my Chinese wife (who is in Beijing) to tell her that I need the pictures after all and my wife calling me telling me such. So, fuckity hell, I have to go down to the picture shop in the morning, then miss the opportunity to be able to go with her, and hope she does not get lost or to just generally lose my paperwork. I might ask her to just wait until Thursday when I am free all day, but part of me wants her to go and hope for no more problems.