There is reason to celebrate today! (and every day, right?)
Today I officially started my new job!
After weeks of working for free administering placement interviews and answering emails, today was my official first class at Zhejiang University Children's Hospital.
I was hired to be the new english teacher for the hospital. Basically, the hospital is highly regarded in China - home to some of the most renowned surgeons in the developing world. Because they have many international contacts and welcome foreign teams of doctors several times a year, the hospital keeps a little space in the budget to teach the doctors english.
And I get to be the lucky one to do the job!
I work 3 days a week for a total of 6 hours - but it is 45 minutes away by bus so that hikes up the total hours.
Wednesdays are the intermediate class, Thursdays are the advanced class, and Friday is an "english corner" all call with no class role. There are 33 students in the intermediate class and 30 in the advanced class. We meet in a conference room in the hospital and I have access to a computer (!!!) and a small whiteboard.
Today I was so nervous about starting the new job. I'm just worried about the differences in needs between computer grad students (my previous students) and health professionals. I want to be the best teacher I can for them and I wasn't sure how to go about addressing their needs - when I don't really know their levels or ultimate goals.
Turns out - all will be fine because my class was very well recieved and my new "students" were easier to relate to than I expected. I guess all middle age Chi.nese English learners respond the same to different types of teaching methods. These guys were just as precious as my previous students. They are far removed from the classroom and have signed up for this class (free for them) on their own accord. This is nice. Everyone in the room wants to be there.
Our 2 hours were filled with many laughs. They came out of their shell more quickly than my college students and were very eager to answer questions and participate. I'm so excited.
I am so much happier in front of the class than being a member of the class. To me, being a teacher is way more fun than being a student. I get that zip in my veins when I notice a light go off in someone's head, that they understand and have gained knowledge. There's a feeling of control when the pacing of a class is just right; when you can sense when it is time to move to the next item on the agenda and the class is jiving right with you. I love to respond with, "yes," "good," or "almost," when students are brave enough to speak out. I love when a student doesn't understand and we trudge through a mountain of vocabulary and examples in order to reach comprehension. I love to set class goals and notice months later that they have been achieved. I love to create a place of comfort, a safe place to learn an awesome language - a language that allows many Chi.nese people to express themselves in ways they can't in their native tongue.
When I'm teaching - I'm alive.
I am so happy to have this job. PTL. Thank the big man upstairs.
I got this job because of Dr. Xu. He gave my resume to the big shots at the hospital and the rest is history.
When I was standing in front of the class I had a "whoa, this is my life" moment. I looked out over the surgeons, pharmicists, anestesiologists, nurses, and doctors- most of whom were wearing white coats and thought to myself, "holy crap, this is real. These asteemed professionals are listening to crazy me like I know what I'm talking about." I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm "qualified" to do what I do here. I still feel like a 21 year old punk kid running around Chi.na doing crazy things.
I feel a deep sense of respect for these people who save lives on a daily basis. They were all acting happy to meet me, when really I was so honored to meet them! I think it's going to be a good thing - me and those white coats chillin' each week.
On a practical note: I am so happy to be employed after 5 months of unemployment because that means at the end of the month when I get paid I can afford to buy a mini-refridgerator! And if I pinch my pennies right - a toaster oven! :) :) :)
Having a fridge would revolutionize my life. Ohmygosh a fridge...cold water bottles, chilly air keeping food fresh, the ability to buy vegetables and take home left-overs! and a mini-OVEN. BAKED GOODS.
Ok, gotta stop, I'm lusting after appliances. What has my life come to?
Moral of the story:
Teaching = awesome
Getting a hard-earned paycheck = awesome
Having a job you love that also helps you buy appliances = priceless
walk slow. xoxo.