Today was the final day of my third summer camp. As usual, foreign teachers had to give the students speaking tests in the morning. I sat outside my classroom while the students watched a movie and then one-by-one they came out to talk to me for a few minutes each. It’s not much of a test – just a conversation – and even the students who can’t answer any questions get a B.
The teaching assistant was supposed to watch the students while I was doing the tests but, being the mentally retarded little bitch that she is, she went off to buy a drink and left them unattended. I don’t know what happened next but when I walked into the classroom to get the next student, the film was no longer on and there was a crowd forming around the teacher’s desk. I asked them why the film was turned off and a student told me that my computer had been knocked on the floor. The screen was smashed up and the hinge was cracked.
Having a new computer destroyed is annoying, but the fact that it probably wouldn’t have happened had the teaching assistant been controlling the students was far more aggravating.
When the teaching assistant returned I criticised her for leaving the students unattended and soon there was a gaggle of young girls who worked at the camp – none of whom spoke good enough English to keep me in the loop – trying to resolve the situation. The boy who knocked the computer off the desk looked teary-eyed and shell-shocked. He was told not to leave while they decided what to do (his mother was waiting outside for him). He sat on the floor in silence. A hostage. I requested to speak to the camp director to get the situation resolved quickly but nobody could find him.
Eventually, he appeared and I told him what had happened and said that I felt that if anyone was responsible, it was the school as they had not adequately supervised the students. He made it very clear that the school would not pay anything to fix the computer. I’ve worked for this company long enough to know that they’re tighter than a nun’s arsehole and won’t spend a penny more than bare minimum, so it wasn’t a surprise. He said that the best thing to do was to get the mother to pay.
I felt very uncomfortable about this. Her thirteen year old son’s boisterousness was only one factor in the damaging of the computer. He shouldn’t have been left unattended. The mother coughed up the ransom without too much fuss. She never looked angry with her son or phased by the situation. Perhaps she was so wealthy that it didn’t register. But I still felt awful to be taking her money.
Someone took the computer to be fixed straight away and I had it back by the end of the day. The casing is still cracked and the new screen is not as good as the previous one, but it’s essentially fine. But I can’t stop thinking about that miserable little hostage.
When I look in the mirror, I habitually suck in my chins and stomach, put my arms by my sides to hide the love handles, and lift my shoulders so as to stretch my chest flatter. So, when I see myself in the mirror, I see a fat man, but not a hugely fat one. I unthinkingly ‘airbrush’ myself on the spot to hide some of the worst fatty parts.
At the summer camps, people are always taking photographs of me – we have official individual, group and class portraits, and the students and teaching assistants take hundreds of pictures and hours of video. Though I haven’t checked, I’m told by a Chinese teacher that my picture is on dozens of student blogs.
And it’s only by looking at some of these pictures that I realise how big I’ve got over the past year. From the front, with chins sucked in, my face is podgy but still has some definition and doesn’t look too big. But from the side, my chin droops into my neck fat, my cheeks are bulbous and even the back of my head has a spare tire. I have double D-cup breasts, back fat rolling over the top of my jeans and a pregnant-with-triplets stomach. In one particularly gruesome class photo I look like a down’s syndrome man with breast implants.
It’s all a bit depressing. But the good news is that, after looking at some old pictures of my travels around China in 2008, I realise I can lose the weight quite quickly if I put my mind to it. I joined a gym in the summer of that year, and totally transformed my appearance in around three months. So, after the summer camps end, I’m going back to the gym and combined with the inevitable weight I’ll lose while travelling, I should be a reasonable size by the end of the year. Then I just have to focus on keeping the weight off…
You’re really friendly. I can’t say you’re handsom but sometimes you look cool. I really enjoy your class. It lets me feel different and relaxing.
Best wishes to you!
Last week, one of my teaching assistants asked the students to write notes to me. They are mostly very sweet, but some are bizarre. And, almost without exception the students mentioned my appearance – they all felt the need to tell me how handsome or ugly I am. Here are a few more examples:
Wish you happy everyday!
I’m that you’ll become more handsome and you will have six-pack (…….)
Oh, I don’t know what I said just now.
Tom do you know. you name is too long to remember. it. so you let us are called. you Tom. Aha. I think you are very whait. Do you think so. I’m very black. I’m very sad.
[picture of a rabbit]
I think you are so cute. you just like our friend.
You look like my teddly bear.
I love your lessons
[picture of a cat] meo
Tom, you are my first foreign teacher. You are very lovely, I really like you. I am relaxing when I have your class. You are my best teacher in all teachers I ever meet. It’s ture, belive me.
Hope you can have a good time in China.
PS: I don’t care if you have nice body. You are handsom! 🙂