I spent my final week back home in San Francisco, California, before returning to Durham yesterday. To be perfectly honest, I have felt somewhat disconnected from both my team and also classes. I wanted to spend a lot of time at home with my friends and family who I rarely get to see, so I felt as though I did not devote enough of my energy to the program. I am finally back in Durham. Though my favorite basketball team, the Warriors, did not make the playoffs, I look forward to a fun summer of DukeEngage! It is crazy to think that even though we have only taught for two weeks, there is only a little over a month left.
This past week of DukeEngage has been really fun. It has also taught me about areas in which I need to improve as a teacher and presenter. Overall, I felt as though the level of participation was quite high. It is so enjoyable to see more students speak up, even the quieter ones. Like Andrew said in our presentation, the key is patience. Personally, it is easy to move on with the content or pick on other students to speak when some do not respond. However, I am starting to get better at helping the quieter students out, whether it be their lack of confidence in their English skills or technical difficulties. I think the students enjoyed the lesson plan that I made for the week. The dialogue was very interactive and I saw students helping each other out, which was beautiful to see. I hope to also get better at names. Now that we have the rosters, I can say their names correctly with the right tones. Sometimes, the students laugh when I butcher their names, but that will not stop me from trying.
Yesterday, I went to the in-person meeting. I did my presentation on connectivity issues. I was a little nervous. Sometimes I feel as though teaching is easier than presenting to my peers. I learned from other presentations on how to get better as a presenter on Zoom, including speaking up, being more expressive, and just having confidence.
After that, I had my class with Nanping teachers. The week before, they had asked to do traveling as the topic. Making the lesson and teaching it was fun. Teaching this class is a nice break from teaching middle school students. It is so wonderful because all the teachers are so excited to learn. To start the lesson, we identified various places around the world. Then, we talked about places we’ve visited and want to go to. We talked about the unfortunate circumstances of COVID-19 as well. One of the activities I did was a Pictionary game, where I would show a picture of something and they would try to identify it. I noticed that many were not familiar with some of the English words for certain things, such as “cruise ship”. I ended up using Google Translate, which was surprisingly useful. I ended the class with dialogue and reading excerpts/comprehension. I have underestimated my students’ reading skills. They were so eager to read and were never deterred if they messed up the pronunciation. They always made sure to correct it when I would read the passage again.
I had my class today with Bao Laoshi and learned about the various tones, vowels, and consonants of Cantonese. The tones and some of the vowels were quite difficult. Bao Laoshi has been very patient with me and I greatly appreciate her for that.
I look forward to knowing my students more. I know Dale loves chicken, so maybe I will do more things with chickens next week. I am starting to make WeChat groups. The students have been saying some funny things. I am not entirely sure what I plan to use it for, but I will plan it with my teaching partners.