At last, my internship has ended. It was my job teaching kids, but I think the kids taught me a lot more. I learned the importance of encouragement and fun in education.
Originally, my goal was to make sure my kids were learning so that their language skills would actually improve. I wanted to teach with a textbook approach. I started the day with teaching vocabulary and sentence structures and then followed up with a worksheet and activity. The first few days, I was frustrated because I was worried the kids weren’t improving. Often times, they would get distracted and during activites where they must speak only English, they would use Chinese. Why come to an English-learning camp if you don’t learn any English? I wanted them to focus and only speak English.
While struggling to teach my students, I gradually realized two things. One: this wasn’t school, but instead a program. Two: Schools and teachers in Taiwan are quite strict compared to the United States, so this is a chance to give them a more fun and lighthearted educational experience. After realizing this by the second week, I gave students more time to play educational games when they asked and instead of pointing out their English mistakes, I encouraged them for what they were doing right. I expected that this strategy would possibly fail in improving their English, but many of them did very well on the final test evaluation I gave them. I discovered that educating kids doesn’t have to be just boring lectures, it can be fun and interactive. By the end of my time at Sanzhi Junior High, I wanted to continue to teach the students that had gradually become my friends. I hope I made an impression on them as much as they did to me.