Before the semester started I emailed our Foreign Affairs liaison to say I thought the IMIS 14-2 sophomores would be best served if another, more authoritative teacher taught the class. I said while I liked the students as people, I felt they weren’t learning as much as they should. Moreover, I’d taught them for two semesters already.
They were a handful and their grades in English 2 were lower than English 1, when I’d hoped the grades would have gone up. Several students had been caught cheating so a clean slate seemed like a good idea to me.
However, I would up getting them. That was okay, and while many goofed off and chatted in Chinese about whatever, I did enjoy teaching those who tried.
We only offer three English courses in this program. The last class for me is usually a movie or something fun. This class should have been held on a Thursday morning, but due to some ball-dropping by an office worker a colleague and I had to go get our medical exams for our work visas on Thursday morning. We had to make up the class on Thursday night, which was inconvenient for several students.
So no one really wanted to be at this class. Well, we watched an episode of Doctor Who after reviewing our finals. When the program was done, I told the students I had enjoyed teaching them and wished them well. I said, I’d see them around campus and would love to hear from them from time to time. Then I dismissed them. What surprised me was that many didn’t leave.
Then Irina, a woman who rarely speaks in English or seems to like school at all, came up and hugged me. More followed suit as they thanked me and a couple said they loved me. It was so touching, especially since China is not a hugging culture. Some started to cry and I did too. It just goes to show, you never really know how you affect people and it’s a big reason why I do what I do.