Goodbye, room. All you need is some air conditioning, heat, dry erase board instead of chalk, some media and internet hook-up and chairs that aren't broken and you are perfect. :)
Goodbye, fellow graduate student teachers. I will miss our morning bus rides, chants (45, break, 45 , home!), chats in the teacher work room, arm pumps to begin the day, walks to the vending machine for tea and kiwi juice, and general comradery. We had the best schedules, best students, best classroom situations, and our own little world inside the foreign teacher department (undergraduates - ew!). But most importantly, we had each other.
The secret to being voted best teacher- homemade goodies. This week's good-bye creation: 16 vanilla cakes from scratch with homemade chocolate glaze. (Thank you, ELLIE for the vanilla extract from Amer.ica!) The sprinkes were also an overseas purchase.
Goodbye Wednesday morning 8am students: Computer Engineering majors:
You are awesome. Each of you is so different from the next. I love giving you work to do independently, and then sitting back and listening to you work together. You don't need my direction as much, you like to work out problens on your own, which is wonderful at the end of a work week. I love how we never heard the bell ring because you were talking so loud. I love how I had to adapt my lessons to you because you took longer than every other class to finish tasks because you are so thorough. Not only are you good students, but you are genuinly kind. Though once I sent a student out of the room because he yelled "shit!" in the middle of class. I regreted my decision later because, Sean, you are a wonderful dude and I didn't mean to make you feel bad. My 2 students with the best english are in this class. I also spent many hours at karoake after class with these little ones. I like you guys and will miss you loads. It's as simple as that.
Goodbye Wednesday morning 10am students: Mechanical Engineering majors:
I refer to you when speaking with my co-workers as my, "little presh-heads." Because that is what you are - precious. No other class is as genuinly good as you. You are kind hearted, gentle, and sweet. I don't think any of you have a mean bone in your bodies, and collectively, you are like a big pile of sugar. I get so happy to see you because I relax in your class. I don't have to be strict or demanding or serious. I think I was the most like my natural self in your class, because you allowed me to breathe. You didn't challenge me or intimidate me, you just loved me. You did your work well and you excelled. Your personalities are so similiar that your class personality was well defined - precious, sincere, and loving. You laugh with your bellies and I like that, big hearty laughs instead of the usual giggles I get from other students. You are the only class that I let see me cry. Thanks for the hugs. I don't want any trouble to come your way, I just want you to experience infinite joy. Because that is what you have given me.
And so it ends. My two year tenure as an oral english teacher to graduate students at Hangzhou Dianzi University is over.
I am so thankful this happened to me that I got to know these people and work in this place. It wasn't always easy or fun, but nevertheless I will forever be grateful for this period of life. The mixing of cultures that my students and I experienced in class is invaluable. I am indebted to my dean at Concordia University for talking me into this job in summer 2008 in California while I cried about not being able to teach kindergarten in Shan.ghai, (due to visa woes).
"Go to Hangzhou to teach college age," he told me, "life is good there." And ya know what? He was right.
Walk slow. xoxo.