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The End of an Era

Posted by on June 5, 2014
A typical classroom view from the teachers podium.

A typical classroom view from the teachers podium.

Today I taught my last class at Zhejiang Agriculture and Foresty University. It was 2nd year students from Survey of English Speaking Countries. I still have paper work to submit, and all the annoying bits of teaching but that’s it…I’m done with class.

I started in the fall of 2009 and since then I have taught:

Oral English

Book Club

Advanced Video

Basic Writing

Listening/Speaking

British and American Culture

British and American History

History of English Speaking Countries

British Culture and Society

Newspaper Reading

Western Culture Through Movies (a class of my own design)

Class Pictures

All in all I’ve taught 2,224 hours of class to a whopping 1,200 students!! (Even I had to double check the math on that one because it is unbelievable to me. But it’s true.)

This school has been good to me, the students have been good to me and Lin’an has been good to me. But five years is a long time and the road calls. I didn’t expect to be here for so long in the first place. I didn’t know I would like teaching, much less be good at it. And yet I do. It’s one of the main factors I have lived in China so long for.

Where will I be going next? I’ll still be in China but stay tuned for more details. For today is not about thinking of the future, it’s about appreciating the past. Thanks to everyone I’ve taught for the past 5 years. Even you shitty students (and there were plenty of those) taught be something. So thank you all. It’s been fun.

The best classes were when I made the students do the teaching.

The best classes were when I made the students do the teaching.

The worst classes were the day before a holiday. Most students wanted to catch a bus home so class was quite pathetic those days.

The worst classes were the day before a holiday. Most students wanted to catch a bus home so class was quite pathetic those days.

I never once but a student, and yet the beginning of every new class started like this. Like they were too scared to sit too close to me and I had to force them into the front rows.

I never once bit a student, and yet the beginning of every new class started like this. Like they were too scared to sit too close to me and I had to force them into the front rows.

Arts and craft in college? Yeah, well these guys don't get much opportunity to do anything even slightly creative so if I could throw in an artsy activity it was better.

Arts and craft in college? Yeah, well these guys don’t get much opportunity to do anything even slightly creative so if I could throw in an artsy activity it was better.

Last speaking class of the semester is always a party.

Last speaking class of the semester is always a party.

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2 Responses to The End of an Era

  1. E-Phoenix

    Haha… That picture of the students sitting in the middle rows is hilarious. It’s like they were too scared to be close to you, but they didn’t want to offend you by sitting in the back rows.

    Do your students know about your blog?

  2. becky

    I know! I hate teaching in the big rooms because the students try to sit so far away. They don’t realize it’s at their own detriment because they can’t hear as well or see as well. So I always force them to sit in the first few rows and I make a point NOT to call on people in the first row. (I think that’s why they avoid it, they think the front row has to do more talking or something.) I prefer to call on people sitting the furthest away because they think they’re “safe.”

    And yeah, I think some do. I don’t advertise it in class or anything, but I also don’t keep it a secret. One student did a presentation on “what foreigners think of China” and used my blog as his examples, so now his class knows.

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