Almost immediately after being accepted into the SABEH program, I regretted my decision. I was nervous about leaving my two young daughters and my husband for two weeks, terrified of the long flight, and unsure about my ability to teach in a culture I knew little about. Now I can honestly say I am so glad that backing out wasn’t an option.
Although I spent many hours preparing the fourteen lessons I was to teach throughout the week, I still had no idea what to expect when I brought my lessons to the Chinese classroom. It turns out I didn’t need to be nervous at all. The experience of teaching at the Greentown Yuhua International School in Zhoushan was absolutely incredible. The Chinese teachers who became our kind teaching assistants were so committed to helping us. They were as eager to learn from us as the teachers in the training classes. In both the Art and Science classes for Primary school, the teachers were initially shy, but soon warmed up and were willing to try any teaching strategy I presented. We had so much fun working in different groups, discussing learning, and even designing and engineering small suspension bridges. We had a few funny moments where things got lost in translation, but these only added to the experience.
By far, the best part of teaching was seeing the Chinese teachers apply strategies during the demonstration lessons. I got to watch my teachers present an English lesson, a Chinese lesson, and a Music lesson. It was truly amazing. I only wish that there had been time to learn more from these teachers. My eyes have been opened and my heart has been filled by my week of teaching in China.