Cannot believe its been nearly 2 months since I wrote a new entry in my blog. Time seems to have disappeared this semester so what have I been doing?
Teaching at University has its own set of challenges. The students tend to be motivated which is great but they also are overwhelmed by the amount of study required.
Their focus was on getting a good CEE result at the end of senior high school to get into a "good" university and then they thought it was going to be easy.....oh little did they know......the same pressures are still on to get the best results in thier course of study.
By this stage of the semester I have students who are physically and emotionally drained which adds additional pressure to teaching. At times you don't know whether you are teacher or counsellor!! Exam time is upon us and the concentration levels in class are governed by when they have to sit which exam.My exam will be their last exam and I think we will all be glad when they are over!!
In addition to my usual workload I also took on teaching a Medical English progam and helped the University to establish their first Standardised Patient (SP) Program this semester.
So what is an SP Program? Standardized Patients (SPs) are people who have been carefully selected and trained to portray patients with a specific condition in a consistent and realistic way. The skills that are taught and evaluated with Standardized Patients include interpersonal, communication, history-taking, and/or physical examination techniques. Standardize Patients allow medical students to fine-tune their professional skills, to gain self-confidence and be better able to instill confidence in their patients, while minimizing risk and discomfort to real patients.
Its been a great experience for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the medical english side of the program which will be especially useful for all the international students that attend this University. Gives you a good feeling knowing that you are making a difference.... I have also been teaching at a private language school where I get a completely different perspective on teaching as I have students from primary school through to business people and from beginner to advanced levels of English.
I love the contrast from teaching at University and get a lot of joy in assisting these students to improve their English....yet another plus for teaching englsih in a foreign country!! On a completely different tangent
I was also asked to judge the CCTV Outlook English Talent Competition for the Jiangsu Province. I did some work for them last year and apparently left a lasting impression...they wanted me back this year!! Its not often that one is referred to as the "distinguished foreign expert professor" but that is how I was introduced!!
Despite it being hard work I have to admit I totally enjoyed the experience yet again. Had to judge from grade 1 all the way up to University level students. Even though I rarely work with young learners it was amazing to see the level of knowlege, skill and creativity displayed by these students.
Its the creativity that seems to get lost in the education system as students progress....It was difficult to judge the competition but to anyone teaching in Jiangsu Province and whose students entered the competition....take pride in your teaching as the students were all fantastic!!
Having now written down all that I've been doing even I feel exhausted. On the plus side it shows the diversity of opportunities available to anyone considering TEFL as a career choice. Opportunites that I never dreamt of when I started this journey have been made available.......who knows what the future holds????