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At our team meeting this week, we were reminded of the DukeEngage motto: “Challenge yourself, change your world.”

When I heard this motto, I was kind of struck by how much of the word “you” there is, instead of “our” or “their”. All of us are starting to get more comfortable with our roles, learning how to teach in this new setting, and developing rhythms in our lives and dynamics among our students and in our teaching pairs. But as these relationships have grown, what I’ve wanted most is for this to be about the students, about expanding their horizons and changing their worlds. I haven’t really been approaching things with a specific goal of changing my own world.

But now that I am thinking more about this, only by intentionally trying to change and expand my own world can I leave a positive impact on their lives. I’m downloading WeChat, trying to understand what the kids in my class are saying about BLACKPINK, and learning Chinese so I can connect with the kids more, and my horizons are expanding. Hopefully, the students’ horizons are expanding too. Then we can all take our expanded horizons, and the awesome insights that they give us, into the rest of our lives.

Classes this week have been fun, and it seems like the students are starting to warm up to us more. Since we were talking about food, I decided to be a chef at the beginning of some of my classes this week, using the video filter.

We showed most of our classes the Fugu video about a fish who is trying to escape being cooked, and a lot of classes has strong reactions to it. Some of the kids found it very funny, and some thought it was really sad that the fish died at the end. Generally, I noticed that the students all seemed to enjoy discussing videos, analyzing English phrases that they heard or describing things that happened in the video. Thinking back to my own experiences attempting to learn different languages, I learned a lot from watching cartoons and music videos in other languages, probably because they allowed me to hear the language in context. These also motivated to me attempt to understand new words and phrases, because I really wanted to know what was going on. I think it might be good to try to incorporate more video clips and songs into the next lessons. We’ve been playing Disney songs at the beginning of class in some of our classes, and I think the kids have been enjoying this too.

As the days go on, I will keep trying to pay attention to how our collective world can change and how the horizons of this world can expand.