Earlier this month, I began my internship at the Qingsu Secondary Vocational School in Chengdu. Before I made my departure from the U.S., in fact before I even set my mind on studying abroad this semester, one of the representatives at my school informed me that I would have an opportunity to teach English to Chinese students during my stay in Chengdu. She told me that I would be teaching young Chinese students, around the ages of six to nine. Once I got here, I realized that there were other internships that I could have applied for that I was not informed about before. I also learned that my students were actually going to be high school students, a lot closer to my age. After the initial shock, I looked at this opportunity with almost overwhelming excitement. I couldn’t wait to get the opportunity to teach.
When I woke up on the first morning of the first day for my internship, I was nervous. I didn’t know how I would do, especially since I had no prior teaching experience to rely on. As I arrived to the school, I was led to my classroom by Security Guards and fellow teachers, all seeming excited to see me. I walked into my first class and was greeted by my students with stares and random outbursts of shock and admiration. I stood at the front of the classroom and looked out at my students. It hit me at that moment that I was exactly where they are now only three years ago. Now, here I am in another country, teaching an entirely different race of children a new language. It was almost too much to take in. However, I quickly regained my composure and began teaching my lesson. My first day was simply an introduction. I wanted to get the children more accustomed to practicing their English out loud amongst each other, so I planned a unique and fun activity for us to play. I asked them about places that they liked to hang out with their friends. I asked them about what types of snacks that they liked to eat. I asked them about who their favorite singers were and what their favorite songs were. Some of the children were too shy to interact, but other students seemed to love to have the opportunity to talk about themselves and what they liked to do.
The following week, I had to teach my students about holidays in America and how we celebrate them. I learned from one of the advisors here that the children in China don’t really celebrate Halloween. So I decided to give them the Halloween experience. I taught them about Trick-or-Treating, and showed them how to do it. I even brought candy to give them a visual. Once they were able to connect the words they were saying to the action of me giving them a piece of candy, they understood what Trick-or-Treating meant.
After teaching for a couple of weeks, I’ve fallen in love with it. I plan to incorporate this into my career goals for the future. I’m very thankful to have gotten this opportunity, and what I’ve learned here will stick with me forever.