If you had asked me three months ago whether I ever thought that I would find myself traveling to China, the answer would have been a pretty resounding “no.” It isn’t that the country doesn’t fascinate me, but my own travels have been almost completely motivated by unique opportunities: to visit friends abroad, to see a favorite show in the West End, to attend a wedding. China just didn’t seem to hold any of those opportunities for me.
A few months ago, a family friend turned me on to the work of the Chinese Culture and Education Center (CCEC). They knew I was a teacher, and they thought (rightly so) that with my interest in travel, I might be a good candidate for their summer teaching programs. I did a bit of research, and the details sounded too good to be true. I sent my application in back in March, and I heard back pretty quickly. It’s been a whirlwind since then!
Visa applied for and received. Orientation meeting attended. Travel plans made. IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!
I leave July first and fly into Beijing. From there, I’ll be teaching in the capital for 10 days, instructing high school students in British literature. The chance to provide content knowledge to ELLs (English Language Learners) is both exciting and terrifying as I consider the language barrier and how the cultural divide will play out in the classroom, but my contact with CCEC assures me that my experience teaching Brit Lit here in the US has more than equipped me for the job and that the school in Beijing is eager to provide the summer course to their students.
After those 10 days of project-based learning, I’m off to Handan to instruct Chinese English teachers in an abbreviated course of professional development. Again, project-based learning is encouraged, the goal being to provide local teachers of English language with strategies for innovation to implement in their own classrooms in the fall.
I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m cautiously optimistic. All-in-all, a recipe for pedagogical success!
***Image above courtesy of mapsoftheworld.com