When I say that the one who teaches others actually receives more, I mean it.
A few weeks after I got into this university, I went to a conference where the host introduced Chinese Language Center and the Chinese tutors who voluntarily work and help foreign students on the campus. And I immediately knew I had to sign up for this.
After submitting a form in their website and waiting for two weeks without any reply, I was called into their office and had a brief interview with the managers there. Then there was another week of nothing, until one day I received an email from the Chinese Language Center, saying that they were glad to invite me to become one of the members of the Chinese tutors.
My job as a Chinese tutor includes holding monthly activities for foreign students, which can be food sharing, field trips, or small games for students to participate in; aside from that, all of the members are required to attend weekly to Fang Ya building to assist foreign students who come across difficulties learning Chinese.
For me, it has become a great opportunity to review my knowledge and logic for Chinese. There are just too many things in this language that we take for granted. Why and when do we add Jiù (就) in a sentence? What’s the difference between Huì (會) and Yào (要)? These seemingly simple yet elaborate and brilliant questions from my student have provoked me into pondering. As a teacher, I am constantly being challenged (in a good way) by my students and have to rethink many existing language frameworks I have established over the years of being an, you know, Taiwanese. By discussing these petty little things in the Chinese language, both my student and I have learned a lot.
As I said earlier, we also have to arrange interesting activities for students to participate in every month, usually smaller ones that can be done in our classrooms, my favorite one so far is the food sharing. Besides those, once a semester a much bigger activity, let’s say a field trip, will be held. And this is the activity that everyone is looking forward to——at least I do. We take them farther and deeper into the heart of Taiwan, to discover unique traditional Taiwanese cultures. We introduce great Taiwanese dishes, sights, and stories that are not covered by any travel magazines. We invite them to live as a Taiwanese, to enjoy a lifestyle with scooters, MRT and boba tea.
Having stayed in the Chinese Language Center for almost a year, I am confident to say that I have learned so much more than I originally anticipated. Everyone working as a team, working hard to accomplish a greater result that benefits everybody, is a great feeling. During my time as a Chinese tutor, I have learned that if I want an idea to be carried out successfully, invest your time and attention with all your heart in it is going to be the way.
It takes time and effort to make things happen, but the process is certainly joyful. I am especially grateful to be able to be part of the Chinese tutor family. To be able to work along with the amazing people here to make extraordinary things happen, is one of the most rewarding things in life.
Special thanks to Cathy, Jewel, Akiko, Hinako and all the good people in the Chinese Language Center who share their passion towards teaching and helping others, making Soochow University a better place.