Kids scream like banshees in my lower-level classes, and my thoughts turn to one of my favorite holidays, Halloween (which is only surpassed in my morbid heart by the celebration of Guy Fawkes's execution). I have to plan a Halloween promotional event for the end of the month, and the size limitations of this school somewhat frustrate me. We do have some 230 students. Trick-or-treat may be doable. Haunted Teacher's Lounge may also be doable--with me under a black sheet and bloody mouth as the resident spectre there. Apple-bobbing? No, too un-hygienic. Ghost stories? Let's save that for class. Sugary sweets should be the show-pony of this particular event. They always were when I was growing up, taste for the macabre or not.
Yesterday I dropped by one of our competitors, a local English training school chain. I was spending a pleasant autumn afternoon in suburban Chongqing and thought, 'why amuse myself by being a spy?' They may have been a little suspicious. But oh, the humanity!--I was so jealous. This school I spied upon had great facilities: TVs in every classroom, designer desks that perform an S-curve on their way from floor to ceiling, suited curriculum consultants. An uncomfortable interview in which I tried to get as much information as I could about the teaching contracts offered (extremely, boringly standard) while my girlfriend attempted to pry other details out of the desk staff. I suppose our act could be improved (they seemed a bit suspicious), but this was a fun exercise. Perhaps I have a future in acting? The BBC, with its penchant for odd-looking character actors with bulbous noses and crotchety croakings ought to appreciate me, I would think.