We are Professors (imagine that!--fly over the ocean and become a professor) at the University of Electronic Science and Technology in China. It is actually one of the top schools in the nation and many bright students attend and have graduated from here.
Our contract is for the full year, two semesters. We each have our own classes. Kirk teaches three graduate classes in composition and conversation, and he is also teaching to prepare a group of 12 students who will be traveling to study in Germany next month. (He made me come as a "guest speaker" to his first class and sing "Kopf und schultern, knie und fuss" with them! (Head, shoulders, knees and toes.)
My classes are 3 different graduate classes in composition and conversation, and 3 levels of UCLAN classes, a group of students who failed the entrance exams to the university, so they are going here for three years, then going to the University of Central Lancaster in England to 'graduate' and earn their degree. They also threw 12 kids into my class on Monday who are from the HND program, but no one can tell me what that program is, whether or not I'll have these students all semester, and whether or not I will be giving them a grade. THIS IS CHINA. The directors here are eager to have us get the kids speaking English more than working on writing skills. There is a wide level of proficiency among the students. Some of them are frighteningly unable to understand or speak. My UCLAN classes are considered "the rowdies", and because of my experience in teaching, they especially assigned these hoodlums to me. Ha! I taught seminary for 5 years--I'm not afraid!! They already told me they want to come watch and see how I handle them. They do terrible things like use their cell phone during class--horrors! So far, I have found the students to be delightful and ready to learn. They applauded me when I spoke my four memorized sentences of Mandarin, they oohed when they saw my ppt slide showing my family of 5 children, and when I showed them the slide with my 12 grandchildren, they hit the roof! They are very helpful with things like the computer (all in Chinese, of course), and Kirk's class invited us to go to the cinema with them!
|Dining at Hekang Jiayun Restaurant|
|My First Day!|
Here is the Sha He. It's actually very lovely, with beautiful trees and green banks and a graceful white egret-type bird occasionally seen, bringing good luck to the viewer. The only problem is that the water looks like Soylent Green, although there is no trash in it. The trees and shrubbery are also gray and muted because the leaves are covered with the constant layer of smog and pollution that hangs in the skies of Chengdu.
We walk across this bridge every morning from our University-owned housing complex in a gated community to enter the campus through the East Gate. It's a brisk 10-minute walk to the Teacher's Building, and the people stare at us the whole way. Some of the students will say "Hello" or "How-do-you-do?" just to practice their English a little. We feel like celebrities all the time.
The second campus is called Qing Shuihe. (Pronounce it "Ching-schway-huh") Kirk has classes on this campus on Tuesdays. He will have to catch a bus from the Shahe campus and ride 45 minutes to QingShuihe. Then another bus ride home at the end of the day. I have to say that I'm not sorry I won't have to take that bus. The campus is huge and has huge buildings that remind me of Russia. I think the communists like things to look grand. These buildings are also not air conditioned. They just brought in hundreds of gingko trees and other trees which they planted all over campus. If you look on Google Earth, the trees aren't there. These are full-sized, huge trees that must have cost a fortune! They make the campus look very beautiful, but each tree is staked up to hold it in place for the next few years. There is plenty of room to build more huge buildings. They have the biggest/best athletic stadium in China and a first-class library that they are VERY proud of! The library is air conditioned, so I imagine Kirk will hang out there on his lunch hour!
|No spitting....and don't bring your dachshund to class!|
|Teaching Building on QingShuihe Campus|