Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

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I wrote and sent a group email shortly after I first arrived here. In it, I made a flippant comment about how my job in my first school was “like recess all day” (a testament to the dearth of discipline of this particular school). A cousin wrote me back something to the extent of, “Wow, and I was worried these Asian students were going to blow past us.”

I regret my comment. I regret it in the sense that I was very fresh and naive to the educational institution here. First of all, the pressure parents put on these kids is borderline unbearable. These kids bend and bend and bend, and I am not shocked that Taiwan harbors a very high suicide rate. People break.

It starts in kindergarten. For most of the foreign teachers, we provide a break. We come in and are present mostly for kids to practice pronunciation and listening. So, we are encouraged to play lots of learning games and uplift the spirits of these kids.

I also tutor privately. I tutor a 13 year-old boy, a 14 year-old girl, and a 15 year-old girl. The pressure on these kids is insane. They are the virtuoso-future-leaders-of-tomorrow-play-the-piano-play-the-violin-speak-four-languages-never-stop-studying type.

So here is the vocabulary list for my 13 year-old student. See how you do!

SET 1 = apocryphal, artifice, axiom, belie, contrived, duplicity, mendacious, postulate, precept, premise, putative, spurious, veracity,verisimilitude

SET 2 = aggregate, attrition, dearth, munificence, nominal, parsimony, paucity, penury, plethora, prodigious, proliferate, squander

Now there are a couple of gimmes in there, but honestly… he is 13!

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Written by Miles

November 9, 2006 at 2:15 pm

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