I feel awful today. I have the worst cold imaginable. It is as if someone used me for a punching bag and then ran me through a wringer. To say I ache all over would be an understatement. I pumped myself full of cold medication to the point where even I am worried about taking too much, as I am a liberal pill-popper to be sure. For that reason, I eliminated the meds for a 12 hour period, until this morning. I needed something to help me make it to work and function.
This morning, I took double-dosages of antihistamine, cough syrup, and ibuprofen. That is what it took to bring me to the level where I merely feel awful. Without the medication, I’d be a wreck and certainly in no condition to work. I am proud of my work ethics and I haven’t missed a single hour of work since I started teaching at the high school, going on 4 years now. Basically that’s because I love my job. If I hated it, like I did my last job at the airlines, I’d probably take off more when I’m sick (again, like I did at the airlines). The way I teach has become so unique that I feel it would be difficult for a substitute to come in and take over for a temporary period. S/he would be very confused as to what I am teaching, because a lot of it is off-book.
Because the students I teach have virtually no social time, attending school 12 hours a day with every period in a classroom-based setting, I try to help them out with social education. Life lessons certainly can’t be taught. They have to be experienced to be properly learned. However, a teacher can certainly prepare students for some of those lessons, teaching them about what to expect and how best to conduct themselves in certain situations. I’m not trying to be egotistical, but I have been around the block a few times, compared to most of the teachers I meet who haven’t been outside of a classroom their whole lives. Consequently, I believe that I am probably the best-equipped to help the students develop social skills.
Make no mistake about it; the responsibility of teaching kids about social skills should fall with their parents. However, here in Taiwan they rarely see their parents. The youth of Taiwan spend nearly all of their waking hours at school. And while at school, they have no time to intermingle with each other. The mode of education in Taiwan is book-based, classroom-based, and lecture-based.
Honestly, in a given day the amount of time kids in Taiwan have to develop their social skills is almost nil. They have about a 15 minute bus ride to/from school and a 25-minute lunch break daily. That’s it. They might squeeze in a little socializing between classes, but 10 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other doesn’t leave a long time to exchange pleasantries. And, again, they are at school every weekday, and every-other-Saturday, for 12 hours a day.
I digressed from my illness there and went on a rant about the lack of social education for Taiwan’s youth, didn’t I? Sorry about that. I meant to keep complaining about my diminishing health, but now I figure why bother? It’s all negative, what I have to say, because I feel so physically ill. However, if I waited until I’m healthy; it could be a long wait. Prior to this two-week illness, I had less than a week of health. Before that, went through a three-week period of illness. That time wasn’t so bad, though, as the cold was localized in just one part of my body (even though it seemed to change body parts every few days). This one is an overall drain on me. The worst thing is that Shu Mei and the two boys have it, too. They got it first, actually. I hope they are better soon, because I worry about them, and it would give me an indication that this illness doesn’t go on forever.