I just got back from two weeks in the nearby town of Neijiang (if you’ll recall, that’s the same city in which we recently held our Women’s Conference). It was there that five, all equal parts ambitious and summertime-lazy volunteers set out to complete our mandatory Peace Corps Summer Project teaching primary and middle school teachers oral English and teaching methods. Yep, you read that right, I (ME) was teaching veteran teachers (some of whom had been teaching upwards of twenty years) how to teach. I’ll give you a second to compose yourself after that guffaw…
…there you go. As you can imagine, I was a bit weary going into it as an absolute novice teacher who has been teaching at a semi-professional capacity for only two semesters. Granted, American and Chinese teaching methods differ greatly. Like, really, really greatly, and for that reason, Peace Corps wanted us to teach American, student-centered teaching methods to these teachers. Chinese teaching employs a teacher-centered approach that focuses on rote memorization, which is necessary for students to pass the slew of exams they must take in order to have a successful life in China. So, many of the teachers, despite knowing what a noob I am in the teaching world, were incredibly gracious, open, and even excited to learn about American teaching methods. And, to my surprise, I had a really good time teaching about teaching! In fact, the past two weeks are the first time I’ve felt like a somewhat good teacher. I don’t think I moved mountains, but maybe, just maybe I was able to maybe impart one tiny ounce of knowledge or two? Weird.
It was an exhausting, fun, exhausting and rewarding couple of weeks. Hanging with my PCV cohorts, getting to know the staff at the Neijiang University and spending some QT (mostly singing KTV [karaoke], eating hot pot, drinking, lather, rinse, repeat) with some of our teacher-students was a ball.
In other news, I came home to a nice family of rats that housesat for me while I was away, how thoughtful! I’ve spent the past three days ninja-ing around my house in every effort to avoid one, and have become Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor, trying to seal up every possible outlet in my house. I’ll probably have to wait to fully resolve the issue until I’m home for good in September. In the mean time, I’m enjoying imagining them having a disco party in my kitchen while I’m away to keep my freaking out at bay. A rat in bell-bottoms, who could hate that?
The summer continues to fly by. Soon, I’ll be seeing some good friends for catch-up time, will do some PC work in the city and, bonus! Mom will be here in a few weeks! I’m enjoying every moment (besides the rat-filled ones).
Up next: some snaps of the past two weeks.