Thursday, July 06, 2006
Experience of a Lifetime
Since I have been teaching, I have been so encouraged by the warm-nature of my students. I have never received so many compliments in my life. They tell me that I am beautiful: "Teacher you are beautiful. Teacher you are so kind. You are more beautiful than your picture." Etc, etc. I tell them that in my country, I am considered quite plain looking to which they look shocked. In my opinion, all the people in my class are so beautiful and so ambitious to improve their English. We have quite a nice situation because the students (teachers of English in Elementary, Middle, and High School,) are staying here on campus for the whole program. Part of the appeal of the program is that they will have plenty of opportunities to speak English with native speakers. This keeps all of us North American teachers busy, but the rewards are so great. I have never felt so satisfied even though the schedule is quite intense. We still have chances to take a short nap in the Afternoon. In China, it is the custom to close school from noon until about 3:00 for naps. It's a wonderful idea I think. I have had many chances already to talk with my students in more informal settings. I am hoping that our conversations will continue to move from more general topics to deeper ones. I feel that these friendships will form rather quickly. The first day of teaching, we had a dancing culture program in the evening. It was so fun to teach them some of the more well-known songs like the chicken dance, the bunny hop, and the electric slide. After dancing, I got invited to visit some of my students in their dorm rooms. They were so hospitable and served me fresh watermelon. I told them that in America, women would probably eat chocolate and chips instead of watermelon. They showed me some pictures and asked me about my life. Our team is also doing well. We have had some stressful moments--usually these moments revolve around the week-end activities and planning our programs. However, today we really seemed to work as a team and I can tell that the dynamics have improved dramatically. Yesterday and today, I have been meeting with students either with one to 5 at a time to have English conversations. This opportunity is part of the program, and it is an excellent way to build friendships. My students are so kind; they asked to take me shopping, and today one of my students brought me a gift of their famous jasmine tea. I cannot express how spoiled I feel here. I am starting to see why I was meant to come to China this Summer. I feel that I will return again soon, and all my students say I must come visit them in their home city. All for now. Thank you for reading this and thinking of me in China.
Fast forward to January 12, 2014---sometimes I miss China. Sometimes I miss having a clear a purpose in my life. Right now, I know I have a purpose but it kind of looks like this ambiguous gray lump.