Yes, I believe that I am a bad role model for small kids. I realized that this week (although others were astounded I hadn't realized this before now).
I'll go back a few weeks (or months maybe). Now learning a little bit of Chinese isn't very interesting to me if I'm learning words I will never use. But I find that I can quickly and easily learn words that my mother would not be proud of. In fact, on several occasions, kids have tried to teach me how to say certain words (for example, "Chicken Steak") and I do a minor mispronounciation and everyone starts laughing. Me not knowing why asks them, "What did I say?" They then tell me that I said a really dirty word. Now a good role model would say something like "Sorry" but not me. I ask them to pronounce for me the "dirty" word, then go to one of the Taiwanese staff members and have them tell me what it means. Talk about a bad role model.
Another example happened this week. I was walking the kids over the bridge and below us is the river. In the river that day there were several people swimming. I hear all the boys yelling down things (which by now I know is never a good thing) and hear them all laughing. I then hear the people below us yell something back. I ask a kid who speaks good english what the students had yelled. He told me that they were making fun of the people swimming and told them to put some clothes on because they weren't that bad looking. Now a good role model would have made the boys apologize to the people and would have yelled at them. Me? I started laughing and said, "That's pretty funny."
There are other stories like this that I'm sure I'll post later, but just know: I am not a good role model for impressionable children.
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