During the Second Week, we arrived in Fengxian County (Xuzhou, Jiangsu), and I was placed in No. 1 Senior Middle School (the equivalent of High School back in the States). The purpose of my two weeks in Fengxian was to prepare me for the later part of my Summer program, the Amity Summer English Program, where I would be teaching English Teachers.
Not knowing quite what to expect, I was given a desk in the English Teacher’s office. I tidied up my desk and got my teaching materials together, and started preparing lesson to teach that same afternoon!
My main goals for each lesson were to facilitate cultural exchange and oral English practice, but with 50 students, this was a difficult task. I thought about how to do it, and decided that focusing on encouraging learning would be most ideal with the limited I had because as the common saying goes, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; if you teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime” (old proverb). To get the students excited about learning more about different cultures, I prepared lessons on songs and movies, as well as Jeopardy! Additionally, they enjoyed hearing and asking questions about my family and life in High School and College. Although it was challenging to teach 50 students, I was glad to have the opportunity to help guide me in the later part of the program, Summer English Program (SEP), where I would be working with teachers from different school in Dongying City (Shandong Province).
The school’s head master also provided me with a time-sheet to keep track of when the classes changed.
As you can see on the time-sheet, the students have a full day schedule of activities.
During my time in Fengxian Senior Middle School, I was to teach two to five classes (one time six classes) per day–English Teachers at the school teach 2 classes a day, so I knew I was in for a challenge! Grade 9 had almost 30 classes with up to 50 students each, and my goal was to teach each of them at least once. By the end of my time there, I had taught each class at least once, and a few twice, so I felt pretty accomplished. Additionally, I had learned a lot about Chinese Culture surrounding Education and the influence of Confucius Thinking by interacting with the many students and teachers who were all very helpful in providing me more insight. This started me thinking on keywords/buzzwords that I would later start compiling into a makeshift thesis topic to focus on during my time in China. I realized that this was only the beginning of what was to come with the rest of my program, and I was very excited!
After bidding my classes farewell and having a final dinner celebration with the other English Teachers, I packed and headed back to Nanjing early the next morning to do some service work!