Friday, October 6, 2017


Hi Everyone,


Going forward, the school will always be physically closed and the building locked on any Federal Holiday that falls on a Monday.

After discussing my new "tough love" teaching philosophy with our school's co-founder Tony Parisi last night, I wanted to be clear with everyone about my intentions for teaching Cantonese I this year:

First of all, if my conversational style or my insistence that you all read my blog once a week offends you, PLEASE QUIT MY CLASS.

I have devoted hundreds of hours of my personal time to ALESN over the past 5-6 years as a Cantonese and Mandarin teacher to try to help people like you become enthusiastic about learning to speak Chinese. I don't get paid to do this. I do this for free to give back to the community. I am sick and tired of teaching apathetic or lazy students. After 5 years of volunteer teaching in New York City's only free Chinese language school for adults, my time is simply more valuable to me than that. Most of our teachers feel this way, but I think that I may be the only one so far with the balls to say it so bluntly.

For anyone familiar with the classic 70s movie Network, I suppose you might say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."

I asked your class last week how many people had attended the first class. 22 out of 24 people raised their hands. I asked how many of those 22 people had read my blog and done the homework. I had spent a lot of time explaining to all 22 people the previous week that reading my blog at least once a week would be A REQUIREMENT of the course this year.

Your homework for this past Monday's class was simply to download your free textbook and mp3s, and to start listening to the first few mp3s for Lesson 1.

7 or 8 out of 22 people raised their hands to tell me that they had read my blog and done the homework.

This means that 14 or 15 people out of 22 hadn't even downloaded the free textbook THAT YOU ALL WILL NEED TO TAKE THIS CLASS.


I am not making this up. It is simply the statistical fact of how many people did not pay attention during our first class 2 weeks ago -- or perhaps it shows how many people in my Monday night Cantonese I class this year are so apathetic that they didn't even bother to obtain a free copy of the textbook that they will need to take this course in the first place.

Don't get mad at me, you 14 or 15 individuals who for whatever reason didn't even bother to download your free textbook. Either pay attention, read my blog, and do the homework from now on, or please, PLEASE quit my class.

I don't need to spend over 3 hours including transportation time coming to ALESN every Monday night to teach people who don't even care enough about their own continuing education to download a free textbook.

If my attitude here makes a bunch of you quit my class, GOOD. Go away, so that I can devote my attention to teaching the remaining students who are ready to learn Cantonese with me this year. This is a free program and I can already speak Cantonese pretty well. You can't, but I would love to help you learn. Please try to make it easier on me by coming to class prepared from now on. If everyone can do that, you will never read another blog entry like this one ever again.


(modified slightly from the same information provided in my previous blog entry below):

  1. For God's sake, download the book and mp3s. Order a hard copy from Amazon in addition to the download if you so choose. Look below in this same section of my blog for complete textbook download info.
  2.  Read OR JUST SKIM the entire Cantonese I section of this blog once (this week) and then check back once or twice a week EVERY WEEK going forward for your new "entry of the week." Once everyone is reading my weekly blog updates on a regular basis, you will all know what your homework is and I won't have to mention any of the stuff contained in my blog during class. Reading (or at least skimming) the Cantonese I section of this blog is just going to be part of your weekly homework from now on. If it is too much for you, please quit my class.
  3. Listen to the mp3s designed to go with lesson 1 of the textbook. THIS WEEK. BEFORE NEXT CLASS. In advance of me covering the material. So you will know in advance what we will be covering. So you can set yourself up to succeed over the next few weeks of class.
  4. Download the handouts from this past Monday here. Please also remember to pack the 2 handouts and bring them to class 2 Mondays from now, because I will not have extras to distribute to people who were in class this past Monday.
  5. Review whatever you remember from the tones handout that was covered during our most recent class. 
  6. ON YOUR OWN, research "Cantonese tones" on Youtube and browse around; listen to various explanations from different videos uploaded by various native speakers and teachers; and find one or more videos that explains the 6 tones in a way that YOU PERSONALLY understand, according to your own personal learning style and communication style.  
I want each person to email me at least 1 link to at least 1 Youtube video teaching the 6 tones of spoken Cantonese Chinese. You can accomplish this homework assignment in 10-15 minutes. I will compile a list of the best links and post these in another blog entry before your next class, so that everyone can click on your classmates's links and get even more tone practice before we reconvene.

The sooner students email me your links, the sooner I can add a blog update sharing the tones links with you all, so that each of you can benefit additionally from your classmates' research attempts. Please try to send me your links by the middle of this coming week, if possible. Thanks in advance.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your studies.

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