A lot has happened in the last two weeks. This week we started our Mandarin classes. All our teachers have been so patient, kind, and funny! They make speaking in class very comfortable and are really helpful when correcting us (the four tones are so hard to consistently get right at the beginning!). All of us have been enjoying them so far, and I cannot wait to learn more. Sept 13 is the moon festival and our class received free moon cake! As Brett loves to say, 好吃!
Another big thing that has begun this week is our internship with SSFBC school. Last week, we came in and observed some classes. I was lucky enough to observe a math and science class this week. To help students understand, the teachers would use both English and Mandarin. I saw this done in different ways. For example, one teacher had her slides in all English and would supplement by speaking in Mandarin, and another teacher would speak in English then translate to Mandarin. The teachers generally took on the same teaching strategies we use at home such as review problems from the last class, a mini-lesson, then time to practice what they learned.
SSFBC is tailored for students who want to attend university abroad in English-speaking countries, so they have English usually integrated into most of their classes, as well as dedicated English listening/speaking and reading classes. At the moment, I have been assigned to two classes as their reading teacher. I was nervous since I have never taught students how to read before, plus I have not had a lot of experience with ELL students, but I thought, “It’s fine, you’ll have a partner teacher and they’ll show you the ropes”. However, when the day came, I was shown to the classroom and was basically told to take it away! I was surprised and I definitely did not have anything prepared for class. It was a shaky experience and initially, I was criticizing myself for all the things I did or did not do, but after some time to reflect, I have realized that I really appreciated this experience in understanding myself as a teacher. This was the first time I’ve truly had to “wing it” in the classroom and I did a solid job! Sometimes, I must accept that not all attempts at teaching will go well, and that is okay! Just something to continue to work on. Needless to say, I had a lot of ideas after reflecting and talking with Ross and Brett. I’m happy to report that my second attempt with the other class went much smoother! I can’t wait until I see them next week!