Puma? Ha ha!

One of my networking pals, a young lady named Chris, sent me the link to this photo.

I really enjoy it when I get your emails from home! Thanks to all who are writing and leaving comments. I love it.

So the truth is, I feel mixed about the security situation on the job. As some of you know, before I started officially on the job, some kids snuck into one of my classrooms and smashed the computer monitor--it was one of the nice flat screened ones. This actually happened again, just after the school replaced the monitor, on Valentine's day, while I was out. And they also smashed the dvd player and ruined all the lockers on the 4th floor. Apparently these kids were observed by other kids and caught. Only this is not the first time these kids have been in deep trouble. The principal let me know these same kids set FIRE to a wall there in the fall...! I hope these kids find out that not only would they be kicked out of a Chinese school, they would be permanently DEPORTED back to their home countries. I am watching to see what happens now. This could affect my decision whether I want to really invest myself in the program.

It is a bit of a challenge to organize classes of music where kids have a very wide range of skills. Some are already accomplished musicians; others cannot read music at all. We have been having some fun with some online music games though where students interactively challenge and develop their skills. Also the several violin students are just adorable. All in all I find the level of stress to be lower than what I was dealing with before. I really appreciate being able to ride my bike to work and be there in about 5-6 minutes. And in a way the bureaucracy of the school is very small...like when I wanted to claim reimbursement for airfare to here, I just presented my receipts and documents to our business mgr and he handed me cash in US dollars. Now that would never happen so fast at home! I was really impressed. And without even trying they upgraded my 'offer' and would reimburse the round trip on completion of the contract, plus another cash bonus. I'm hoping the situation with the kids will be well taken care of. It is more difficult to manage security issues when not in your home country. Also the school is implementing the option of honors classes starting in the fall where kids enroll in online classes run through a program in the states. This is good because there are some students who really need the challenge and can get college credit this way, and it will attract other advanced international students.

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