Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thoughts Early On

Teaching In Taiwan -- an attempt to sum up my thoughts thus far regarding my work.

Coming to a foreign country and being paid to speak your native language is pretty amazing. It's funny that I am a commodity simply because I speak English. I can't imagine having an easier time qualifying for a good job with pretty good pay.

This experience (I've been at it for about a month now) has forced me to utilize some skills that I wasn't sure I had.

I've discovered that I am much more assertive than I thought. My ability to grab and hold the attention of 20 eight year olds is astonishing...a little silliness can go a long way.

This job requires a fair amount of creativity. Last week, I had about 30 minutes to prepare for a class. I had to come up with enough material to fill an hour of class time. I nailed it. A big part of teaching Taiwanese children is game-playing. They spend all day in their regular schools, so we try to make learning English fun. In an hour we'll play a few games that involve the kids running around or competing for prizes. Thus far, I've managed to come up with some good stuff with the help of my co-workers.

The children are incredible. Their commitment is mind-boggling. Most of them come to English school directly from their regular school. I don't think I could've handled such a work-load at their age. They manage to have an awful lot of fun while excelling at such a difficult task. The pressure they are under from their parents and the schools is insane. They use their time at English school to blow some steam and it's great. I want them to want to come to see "Teacher David" because he can help them learn and have fun at the same time. It's a shame we only have them until they enter high school. The kids here, when they reach high school, attend classes from 8a.m. to 9p.m.!!!!!!!! Yes, thats 13 hours a day.

The respect I get from I get from my co-workers is invaluable. Rarely a day passes without a compliment from one of them. They all think I have a excellent delivery and they think my intonation/speaking skills are amazing...I can't stand to hear my own Last week I was asked by one of the senior Chinese teachers to record a series of taped readings so that she could use them in her class. She said that I should be on radio or TV because my voice is what non-English speakers want to sound like as their learning the language. All this praise is making me a bit

Finally, I think the best thing about this job is what I am accomplishing. Knowing that each day I am help people achieve a skill that is truly valuable. There is something incredibly empowering about teaching. It is such a rush. Whenever I feel a bit lost, I try to remember that what I am doing is important and the parents are placing a lot of trust in me. They are entrusting their children to me...scary thought, eh?

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