This first week of teaching has been overwhelming but in a good way. I met so many new students, and all of them remind me of myself when I was little and attending school in China. I remember having to wear the school uniforms, and wearing the red scarf around my collar, all of these details are at once so familiar yet so far in the distant past. The students are all very nice, some of them are super excited to participate, jumping at any chance to speak, others are a little bit shyer, only speaking when you ask them to individually. There were some rare cases when the student just wouldn’t respond no matter how I asked, not even in Chinese, but those cases were few and far between, and it could’ve been an internet connection or a tech issue.
This week we mostly gave self-introductions, and we created slideshows about ourselves to use in our teaching. I made mine with lots of pictures from my life in Wuhan, in Ohio and at Duke as well. One of my pictures from Wuhan showed “黄鹤楼”， I wasn’t sure if any of the students would recognize the temple, but to my pleasant surprise, quite a few were able to name it and also 2 students added that they knew it was in Wuhan and had visited the temple before. I also included pictures from high school and some pictures from college, and even though those pictures are much more recent in my life, it was still nice to flip through my camera roll to choose those memories that I was going to share.
In the class for younger children, Baobaoban, I met two adorable kids, one an eight-year-old boy, and the other a six-year-old girl. I learned that the boy’s favorite color was red and that he loved rollercoasters, and the little girl’s favorite color was pink and that her favorite movie was Frozen. I also got invited to go to the local zoo in Zhuhai and ride the penguin train! Hopefully, I will get to go someday and actually meet all of my students, I wish I could be there right now with them.
It’s a little hard looking at all the pictures from the previous years and wishing I was teaching in China in the physical classroom instead of on zoom 7995 miles away, but I am hopeful and excited for a summer of memories to be made.