Monday, June 07, 2010

Down with the Old

Usually Sunday evenings are quiet nights making it the perfect time for writing club, but last night the Tree House was packed. People were standing in the book aisles, sitting on desks, sitting on arm rests, squatting. About 16 Americans from the Amity Foundation in Hong Kong came to visit. I was really proud of the freshmen and older students. They swallowed their shyness and fear, went forth and talked.

The city is going through an incredible change. EVERYTHING old is being torn down. New is being put up. In the north of the city, a new HUGE park is being built and some type of tall mountain or sculpture is forming. When I return from my August month home leave, the city will look totally different.


patti s said...

so are you staying another year? ok, and why?

Dr. Jen said...

Here is my PC essay that I had to submit in order to get approval to stay for a third year.

There are several reasons why I would like to stay for a third year with Peace Corps China. First I feel that my volunteer service as an English teacher contributes to students growing as creative and critical thinkers. The English majors at the college are highly motivated which makes teaching easy and enjoyable. From the challenges and rewards of living and teaching in China, I also learn many lessons about life and myself.

Even though I like teaching in the classroom, my greatest motivation for staying another year is to have personal interactions with the people of China through activities outside of the classroom. A quote from my original PC essay written in 2005 is still a reason why I want to continue living abroad, "Learning about other people's joys and pains, trials and accomplishments, I learn about myself." Over the past two years I have found a community of students, teachers, and friends making it easier to implement English learning and culture exchange activities outside of the classroom: free talk at the Tree House, writing club, holiday parties, English club for knitters, and Chinese corner. Because I have integrated into the community, I have become more effective as a teacher and a mentor. Also, with the PC sponsored Program Design and Management workshop, a teacher-student collaboration through a whole new academic school year would be better than a short lived collaboration through these last few months of Spring semester.

My specific goals for a third year would be as follows:

1. Teach college English
2. Improve the Tree House English Resource and Community Center by organizing English learning and culture exchange activities, specifically Writing Club and English Club for Knitters
3. Help with the moving of the Tree House from old campus to the new campus
4. Improve my Chinese
5. Write regularly on the blog Letters from China

Staying one more year in China, I would be able to effectively teach English and organize activities. Interacting with an established community, there would be a mutual exchange of learning and teaching about the English language as well as American and Chinese culture. Most of all, I enjoy the lifestyle of living, working, and growing as an individual in China.