LONG EMAIL -- THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR READING. I AM ALSO POSTING THIS ON THE BLOG.
Sorry for my slight delay in sending this due to the Thanksgiving holiday this week. As a reminder, my blog can be found at www.sayitrightchinese.com
There you will find entries summarizing our class so far this year, as
well as much of the same class as I taught it last year during the
2017-2018 academic year (until February, when I needed to take a break
This past Monday, we
covered the COMPOUND FINALS in the table at the top of page 6. We
over the pronunciations of each of the compound finals, we reviewed the
specific footnotes to some of the finals on page 6, and then we went
through all of the practice exercises for the compound finals on pages 6
and 7. Following this, we began a serious and in depth study of tones,
first looking at the table on page 8 and then doing most of the
practices on pages 8 and 9. We will pick up with Table D1 at the bottom
of page 9 this coming Monday.
I know that it is the holidays, but it is a shame for those of you who missed our last class, because this stuff is THE MOST IMPORTANT MATERIAL THAT WE HAVE COVERED SO FAR. I know that some of you emailed me beforehand to let me know that you would be missing class, but for
the rest of you, it is simply a shame that you missed this stuff,
unless you make a serious effort to attend from now on and also to
review this stuff on your own, your Mandarin pronunciation has a real
potential to suck for
the rest of the year.
No joke. It is just the way it is. Sorry not sorry.
can only show up and teach this stuff to the best of my ability. If
some of the class doesn't attend for whatever reason other than those
who emailed me in advance to tell me, well, I can't control that.
will spend the entire class this coming Monday reviewing this same
material, because it is THAT important. I hope to see more of you in
class on Monday.
This is stuff that you have to learn, and if you haven't
already quit my class, you need to attend for the next few weeks -- even if you think I am covering dry, boring stuff.
I have zero patience for students who decide to sit out the intro
pronunciation and tones lessons and then expect to rejoin the class a
month later and just jump into the conversation lessons. If I see that happening,
that students who have missed much or most of the pronunciation units
are suddenly back in class once we start covering more traditional
textbook dialogues in December, and if I hear that your pronunciation as suffered due to your absences, I am going to be very vocal about it. Just a heads up.
Which brings me to something very important:
PLEASE LET ME KNOW VIA EMAIL IF YOU HAVE QUIT THIS CLASS.
There are 43 people signed up for this class right now and yet there
were 7 or 8 Mandarin students in attendance this past Monday.
-- I am an asshole sometimes when it comes to my very strong opinions
about language learning in general and about the importance of
exclusively focusing on pronouncing Mandarin syllables properly during
the first few months of classes.
OK. FINE. GET OVER IT.
am an asshole sometimes when I explain something to the class several
times and then receive multiple emails from students who did attend
class but ask me to re-explain the same thing because they didn't pay
attention or write it down the first time -- like the location of the
DVD store (see info below for new location; the store moved 1 week ago).
OK. FINE. GET OVER IT.
am an asshole sometimes when I give examples of many failed students we
have had in the past at ALESN and what I feel they did wrong that
sealed "their doom" so to speak, their inability to turn classroom
attendance and classroom knowledge into a practical ability to have even
the most basic conversation with a real Chinese person, even just to
say hi and tell someone what their name might have been. I have strong
opinions about the amount (and kind) of effort you will all need to put
forth in order to succeed in my class, or in any other once a week class
at ALESN or anywhere in the world learning any language that you don't
OK. SO WHAT. GET OVER IT.
say these things because I want my students to succeed, and because I
either want lazy or "predisposed to be untalented" students to quit my
class OR I WANT THEM TO SHOW ME THAT THEY ARE DETERMINED TO SUCCEED -- AND THEN I WANT TO SEE THESE PEOPLE SUCCEED.
am not trying to be a jerk for jerk's sake. I taught 5 or 6 years of
beginner ALESN classes 2 or even 3 times a week without saying any of
this stuff. I smiled. I encouraged my students no matter what they did
-- no matter how little they studied, no matter if one person might make
the same mistakes every single class for an entire year, then take my
class a second time and make the exact same mistakes every single class
during the second year. For 5 or 6 years, I was happy to teach anybody
and I paid little attention to the actual success rate of my students. I
had huge classes -- 25 or 30 people for most of the year, even in the Cantonese class!
recorded all of my classes every week, uploaded them to a cloud drive
for all of my students to download for I think 3 or 4 years in a row --
hundreds of hours of classes that I taught -- and still my students made
the same mistakes every week for the entire year, and then again the
following year if they came back to ALESN. Some of them are still
taking ALESN classes and still making the same beginner level mistakes
that they made 3 or 4 years ago in my Mandarin I class -- despite me
having pointed out these errors every week for an entire academic year,
several years ago!
me, that is a complete waste of time, and after personally witnessing
hundreds of ALESN students not fix their mistakes and continue to make
the same mistakes for multiple years in our program, I decided last year
to be very hard on all of my students.
Life is too short. If I offend you, you SHOULD quit my class. You don't have what it takes to learn Chinese.
If you find me offensive
at times with my strong opinions, but are determined to succeed because
learning Chinese is THAT important to you, then you should not only
continue to take my class, but you should attend other Mandarin classes
at ALESN and you should find a conversation partner online or via
Craigslist or whatever and you should start building a collection of
hundreds of purchased or downloaded movies and you should buy all kinds
of other textbooks and study resources and read and learn from them on
your own every week in between my classes -- AND YOU WILL BE THE SORT OF
STUDENT WHO BECOMES FLUENT IN CHINESE AT A SOLID, INTERMEDIATE LEVEL IN
A YEAR OR TWO.
I hope to see more students in
class going forward -- or please tell me that you have quit the class so
I can remove you from the 43 person class email list. Thanks in
Thanks again to everyone who attended this past week and I look forward to seeing you all this coming Monday.
Before I forget, here is info on the DVD store's relocation:
I was told by a student from the Mandarin class this past
Monday that the infamous DVD store relocated approximately 1 week ago to
a new spot on Grand Street between Eldridge and Allen, closer to
Allen somewhere near that corner. The student did not explain to me
whether it was on the north or south side of Grand street on that block.
I apologize for any confusion that the previous location's closing
might have had on those of you who emailed me a week and a half or two
weeks ago asking where the store was located, but since the store didn't
start moving until approximately 1 week ago, it should have been at the
previous location and open for business during the entire time that I
described it to you, including on the day when I sent my somewhat angry
email a week and a half ago.
Quite a few students purchased
Dragonball Z and various Disney films and all kinds of other really cool kids' and even regular
adult TV drama series DVDs at the original location -- and I hope that more of
you will visit the new location, once we determine where it is, to
purchase at least one $1-8 DVD that you can watch over and over again for the rest
of the academic year as you learn some basic Chinese.
Best wishes to All,
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