September 13, 2018, 10:05 a.m.
I start teaching on Thursday, September 20, a week from today. First class will be literature to Rehabilitation Science students. Then critical writing, or “Composition as Critical Inquiry,” to Graphic Design students on Friday. The literature textbook is a Norton Anthology, the likes of which I saw during my time at Oregon State University. I don’t yet have a textbook for critical writing, though I don’t know that I need one. I plan on using the research essay formatted assignment that I used with my high school sophomores in the spring. It was on Fahrenheit 451, but the process could be applied to almost any topic; C-E-A-E-A-Cl is a stable body paragraph, easy to follow. We will see what kind of exposure my students have to the American essay.
I’m writing syllabi. The college gave me a format, but it feels like a formality. Tim Jensen, one of my writing professors, said, “Today is syllabus day, also known as cover-my-ass day.” I’m beginning to understand why—there’s gotta be some accountability otherwise a teacher could do whatever they want on a whim, without much consequence. But the content, policies, and schedule are subject to change at the professional discretion of the instructor, which means I can write with flexibility. Mike O’Malley, one of my education professors, hardly followed his syllabi, written to appease administration rather than give the students something to follow religiously.
Got a Teacher’s Appreciation Day bonus: 3000 RMB or about $400. Will save and use it for food and groceries. Or I’ll go halfsies on an e-bike with my roommate. That could be fun and potentially dangerous. Costly, too, but if it’s anything like the rest of Chinese products, affordable.
Set up an account with the Bank of Shanghai, necessary to be on the college’s payroll. The bank was helpful, I got a debit card, and I pray to God that the money I make will be easily transferable to my American bank account; I don’t want to spend much, here, if I can help it. We ran out of time, though, the bank closed before we could get help connecting our accounts to WeChat, which is everything, it seems. Most vendors and modes of transportation accept WeChat as payment: just a scan away. It’s like China skipped from cash & check straight to smartphones, without much regard to the traditional American form of payment: the (debit or credit) card. I have a debit but have not seen many places where I could swipe it.
On a personal note, God is good and providing. My roommate, Joe, is an MK (missionary kid). We went to Shanghai Community Church last Sunday—a two-hour commute by bus and metro. We walk in, they’re singing something from the mid-2000s, in English. It feels like a traditional American church: pastor is white, crowd is colorful, communion is open. Isaac is a lost patriarch, someone from whom we may learn what not to do when it comes to raising children, apparently. The sermon was three-pointish, with a brief resolution that I found insightful. Mostly, he retold Genesis 25-27, detailed but simple.
I have an audition for the worship team, want to know more about staying connected. I don’t know if there are any churches closer to us, though I’m okay with a bit of travel. I wasn’t expecting to find something like this; they even have community groups. Who knows, Joe and I may eventually host something if there are other believers out here in the Jiading district.