I could get used to this!
Four hours of teaching, 8 AM to 11:50, 10 minute breaks every hour, so really 200 minutes of teaching. Only two classes of about 25 students each today. I spent a few hours planning after, but it was so much more enjoyable and efficient planning after class, instead of before classes and meetings, fighting for a photocopier. With my own desk! And computer!
My students are sweet so far, too – all sitting ready at the bell, excellent English though directions are still tricky. I had them do a warm-up activity, tell me what their aspirations are and why they’re interested in going to the US (I’m in the US-bound program). One of my classes even stood up to deliver their beautifully articulated answers!
Why are these guys interested in going to the US? Well, according to the administrators, the plan for upper-middle class Chinese students is, first, to ace the high school exit exams to get into a good Chinese university. If they don’t score high enough, the next option is to get into a university abroad. It seems backward to me – how much more difficult to have to learn content in another language, in another country.
However, the students have much more inspiring reason for going to American (maybe to please me, their teacher). They talked about the environment, by which they seem to mean natural environment, in addition to the people from diverse cultures that they are eager to meet in our melting pot (should I warn them)? They say that the US has the best education system (I smile and tell them I’m here because I heard China has the best education system ).
They have deeper reasons, too, beyond the platitudes. They talked about different learning styles, that they know Americans are taught to be more creative and learn in a different way. They talk about freedom – their words – and how they think there are more options to learn different things in the US. And, of course, they talk about beautiful places, creature comforts, entertainment, technology, and the NBA.
Now, I know I’m Amero-centric. I love my country. And I know Chinese students aim to please their teachers, and will respond to questions accordingly. But they do see a side to China I’m sure I’m not privy to – all I know is Nanjing, and they are from all over Jiangsu Provice. It makes me curious to know what they’ve seen.