University of California - Santa Barbara
The Art of Teaching
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?
“The only reason I want to come here is because of you.” I heard Jennifer's words as I looked down into her dark brown eyes; what she had said sounded almost like a confession. Seven years old, Jennifer came to Fei Xiang Bilingual School for the same reason most of the children came there - to learn. After working at Fei Xiang for a couple of months, I had formed attachments with several of the children. Jennifer, however, had claimed a special place in my heart. Because of her, my job became much more than something I did in my spare time to make extra money. I found myself in the position of a friend and mentor, as well as a teacher.
When I first applied for my teaching position at Fei Xiang, I never expected to form a strong connection with anyone, much less a seven-year-old girl. The environment at Fei Xiang was often chaotic. The premises offered a combination of after-school care, enrichment classes, and homework help. Many Chinese parents with full-time jobs sent their children to Fei Xiang to become Einsteins. Like most of my students, Jennifer was "overscheduled" with an exorbitant number of activities: Chinese and English lessons, Math Olympiad, swimming, soccer, and dance class. Despite her commitments, however,...
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