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六月有奖征文:Teaching in Dalingshan Middle School

作者:Adam Hawks | 来源:广州市沃迩德文化教育咨询服务有限公司

 People have traveled to China throughout the centuries to discover fortune and fame.  For hundreds of years, traders from around the world have ventured to the Middle Kingdom to change their destiny.  In a modernizing China, many people from different nationalities are still discovering new methods to change their livelihood.  By becoming an ESL teacher in China, I was also on my own quest to discover a new self.  However, I was not seeking riches or fame, but rather to discover my own purpose in life.  I was seeking my own journey of self-discovery, and I found it by becoming an ESL teacher in Dongguan.

      An ESL teacher has a difficult task ahead of them.  The teacher has a limited time with students and a teacher is expected to help mold students into becoming the next generation of innovators, artists, laborers, and leaders.  Furthermore, an ESL teacher must help students develop these skills, sometimes without the assistance of a teaching aide, to help students be successful in overcoming vital components in both of the entrance examinations, the zhongkao and the gaokao. 

For many of my students, my class is perceived as easy.  The class is a time when students do not have to worry about being attentive to the information being presented. However, as a young man growing up, I had a mother and teachers who always challenged me to do more, even when I refused or argued with them.  I told them that it was not necessary for me to do the extra work.  Both my teachers and my mother knew that going to extra kilometer was about becoming tenacious.  That tenacity is transferred over to my teaching lessons and is instructed to my students.  For those students who wished to take it easy and relax, they are now challenged by me and their classmates to do even better.

But the students are not the only ones that is being challenged.  I am also challenged on a weekly basis by my students, and their teachers.  I am challenged to create engaging lessons and incorporating the vocabulary from their homework into their classwork assignments.  Only by talking with my fellow Chinese counterparts and striving to work harder to help those students struggling with their English have I understood what it takes to become a top ESL teacher.

A top ESL teacher needs to be tenacious, compassionate, professional, and always seeking new methods to improve.  I am blessed to be surrounded by students and teachers who are always seeking to not only help each other, but they are always assisting me in my quest to be the best ESL teacher possible.  If I have a hard time explaining what a verb is to students, we don’t give up and quit, but rather we go through a process of discovery to help understand each other.  I came to China to discover myself, yet I found out that discovering oneself is not for the solitary, but requires the aid of others to help find the meaning within.  Only with the help from my students and teachers have I discovered myself in the Middle Kingdom.

With students like Gong Li who are exuberant to speak English and are seeking to discover their own world through my eyes.  Or to my fellow teachers such as Mrs. Chen Li who is trying to discover more about the United States and trying to discover how both the Chinese education methods of teaching and the American education style of teaching can help our students to go that extra kilometer.  Telling students that they can do better, and expressing that optimism and through giving the students the compassion they need, they respond by being more alert and attentive during my lessons.  Showing that you are willing to work harder for them, and that they are not treated as an afterthought, they will give you that extra kilometer needed to be successful.

For everyone that I have met while living and teaching in China, the process of self-discovery is not limited to oneself.  Everyone is seeking to understand themselves through others.  Perhaps the fame and fortune that brings people to China is misguided.  The people that are seeking their own self-wealth, including other foreign teachers, will miss out on the greatest treasure that China has to offer.  The treasures of eternal friendships and self-fulfillment to complete one’s self discovery, is worth more than all of the money available in China.

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