And just like that my second semester of teaching is over!
For my Oral English classes we had our finals this week. Throughout the semester they had large presentations that they had to give so their finals were pretty simple. We did “Show & Tell” as their final evaluations. It actually turned into a great way for me to learn so much about my students, while also being a non-threatening way for them to stand up and speak in front of their classmates. Some students brought in diaries, some brought in pictures, some even brought in pets. This week I saw 2 turtles, 1 mouse, and 1 cat!
Today, in my last group of speakers one of the students who I also consider to be my friend stood up and said, “today, I did not bring anything to show you.” Immediately I felt a little frustrated. I thought that she was taking advantage of our friendship inside the classroom. But then she continued, “Instead, I want to talk to you about our teacher, Krysta.”
Janice (the student) then went on to list seven things about me that she felt showed all my different “faces.” She talked about her first impression of me. How she thought I was just a foreign teacher who was “so fashion,” but then she learned that I was here as a volunteer. She gave examples of how I’ve helped her throughout the semester and she talked about how we became friends by playing soccer together. Janice ended her over 7 minute speech about how I have impacted her life and have made an impression on her that she will always remember. She told the class that I was following my dreams and that I have given her the courage to do the exact same.
I’ve been having difficulty in China because it’s can be hard to feel the impact I was hoping for as a volunteer. I have volunteered in nursing homes, tutoring centers, and even in Africa. All of these experiences left me feeling pride in my work and the ability to see the impact I’ve made, but as a teacher it can easily get lost.
Today, reminded me why I am here. Even though I have difficulties adjusting or making a life for myself, today helped me realize that I am appreciated and am making a difference in people’s lives. Today was why I joined Peace Corps.
As I say goodbye to my students they are showering me with letters and heartfelt words. They are reaching out to me when I need them most since arriving. My students are what makes all of it worth it.