Archive for April, 2010


Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

If anyone is interested in posting some comments on CWC’s blog site, the address is  The president of the club has added quotes and pictures.  Pretty soon, she’ll be posting picture prompts for the upcoming writing competition.  This Friday, too, there will be a fundraiser selling fruit cups during lunch if anyone is interested.  Lots of things going happening in the club.  Also, members have a message board site if anyone is interested in reading some fiction and nonfiction pieces:  Welcome!


Monday, April 12th, 2010

Just today, I had at least three private talks with students who have expressed great anxiety over their grades.  This is actually not counting all the other incidents of “grades crisis” I heard that students have gone through over the past few weeks.  At what point do grades become oppressive to students?

I have seen a disturbing trend, especially at our school, where grades have become the measurement of a student’s worth, especially as compared to their peers.  They use it as a way to elevate others and put themselves down or elevate themselves and put others down.  Even worse, some students internalize this letter as what defines who they are.  Because of the academic nature of our school and the importance we place on performance, it is understandable that students put a lot of stock in the grade they earn in class.  Moreover, there is very real pressure to have something to show for when college applications roll along.  It doesn’t help that parents push just as hard to compete for the best spots out there.

As a teacher, it saddens me to see students put more emphasis on grades than on actual learning.  Certainly, grades show that students are learning … but do they really?  What is learning?  And what is the best way to assess learning?  Personally, I think the human mind is far more complex … and a letter grade is far too simplistic a way to measure one’s learning, much less one’s worth.


Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Things got very busy this past week that I haven’t posted anything on this blog.  What should I write about?  I think I’ll write about these boys who are near and dear to my heart:  my nephews.

The male gene runs dominant in my family.  I have two older brothers and two younger brothers.   I have to say that I had a great childhood.  My brothers were good to me, and they continue to be.  Moreover, they all married well, and I can say unreservedly that I am so glad to have such great sisters-in-law!

Now for my nephews.  I have a total of six nephews, spawns of my brothers who have apparently carried on the family tradition of male domination.  One of my sisters-in-law is pregnant at the moment, and I am crossing my fingers that I will finally have a niece!  I’m not complaining, though.  All my nephews are very special to me — all have distinct personalities.  In particular, my oldest brother has these three boys who are so different from each other that it’s funny.  The fact that they are all only a year apart makes it more fun.

The oldest boy is an intellectual, I think.  He is only three years old, but he can already spell and do math and work the computer and memorize all kinds of songs.  Their second is destined to be an athlete.  He has a lot of energy and is not afraid to run into things, fall down, get up, and charge again at his destination.  I think he has already fractured a bone.  The youngest of the three is the mellow one.  He smiles a lot and knows how to charm people, especially his grandparents.  When his two older brothers are fighting over a toy, he just sits there and watches them.  I hope he doesn’t grow up to be bullied by them!

It’s too bad I can only hear about them growing up through stories and watch them change through photos and videos!

Cold and Rainy

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I don’t understand how it can be so beautiful and sunny one day and be cold and rainy the next.  Today, the weather changed so drastically as we were greeted this morning by misty fog.  I walked to school in a daze, wondering where the clear skies went.  I had already started packing away my winter clothes, too.  This teaches me not to get psyched out by occasional good weather in Shanghai (especially this season)!  I already know a few people who are sick or who are coming down with something.  Besides layering up and keeping warm, I try to fight the cold by drinking hot liquid, like tea or soup or even just water.  When I feel that tickle in my throat, I take something called Airborne (invented by a teacher for teachers!).  Some people say it’s a placebo, but it works for me every time!

The iPad

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Wow, it is a beauty! I’ve been following the release of this new toy from Apple. Now that it’s out, I have to stop myself from ordering one online! Speaking to a friend who also owns all things Mac, she advised me to wait until the second generation iPad, when all the kinks are all worked out. It makes a lot of sense, especially since it looks more like a bigger-screen iPod Touch. However, the sleek look and its 1.5-pound weight are very appealing to me.

Some of the features that I really like in the iPad is the bigger keyboard right on the screen. I wonder if this will be the next big thing in laptop technology. I also like its Kindle-like library where you can purchase books. Watching videos and movies in the iPad would definitely be a step up from my iPod Touch. Looking at pictures would also be a lot nicer with a bigger screen! Besides these things, it would probably be best to wait until it starts adding other features like camera, USB port, video recorder, etc. Or is that asking too much?


Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The other day, someone asked me the difference between Catholics and Protestants. Although I could have given him a more comprehensive answer, I was only able to cover the basics; for one, I noted the difference in the church building structure. Whereas Catholics hang a crucifix on their walls, Protestant churches have an empty cross as their symbol. Before I could explain why, the conversation turned to church politics. If we could have stayed on the topic, though, perhaps it would have led to a discussion of Easter and the meaning of it. As I was reading articles this morning, I found this one that I thought pretty much summed up my thoughts on the significance of Easter and its importance in Christianity, whether one is Catholic or Protestant:

Happy Easter, everyone!

Three-day Weekend

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

It is going to be a wonderful, restful weekend. After the long week that we had at school, I’m glad to be able to sleep in for three mornings in a row! It is also supposed to be nice weather out, so I’m thinking of going running, too. To kick-off this long weekend, I watched two ‘classic’ movies tonight with someone who hasn’t seen “Shrek” (the first one) and “The Little Mermaid.” It was great to watch them again, especially since I am a fan of animated movies anyway. It certainly brought back memories of the seasons in my life when these movies first came out. Long time ago. Tonight, I also made green beans and fried chicken for dinner. Dessert was supposed to be cake, but we were too full and settled for M&M’s. Great night.