Teacher Spotlight: Heidi

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What was your favorite thing about China?

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My favorite thing was travel, and I loved going to see the different sites that you see on TV and actually being there in real life was absolutely amazing. My favorite place that I went to was the Great Wall. It was so beautiful when we went and I could have stayed for weeks. It was awesome.

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What were the schools you taught at and what were your thought on those schools? What did you like about teaching?

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I taught at a lot of different primary schools and kindergartens and then I also ended up teaching at a preschool.  I loved all my co-workers, and other teachers I met. I made ton of friend working at that preschool. I taught at three different kindergartens and each was obviously different. There was one that was well organized. That was a really good school. I loved being there too. I had some teachers that gave good feedback and the other teachers spoke good English there. Whereas other schools the teacher’s English was not so good, which made those schools a bit more of a challenge. I had a routine in all my classes, where I would start each class with a song or game, to get the kids involved. Some of the schools I came up with the lesson plan, and others they provided a lesson plan for me to teach too. Each experience was different so I had to become very versatile. I feel like I learned a lot from each of the schools I taught at.

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What was a lesson you taught that stood out to you the most?

The most memorable lesson I gave was on thanksgiving. I did teach the kids English words, I taught them different food items we eat in America. I had other teachers at the school help teach what thanksgiving culture was. In those lessons, I expressed my gratitude for those kids, and for the opportunity to be in China. As I shared that with them, I felt an overwhelming sense of love that I had developed for these kids that I had been teaching for about three months at this point, and I had about another month left of teaching them. That was the most tender day for me because not only was I able to go express my gratitude for them, but I could invite them to express their gratitude to someone they loved too. It was special, because I went around and had each of the kids share what they were thankful for. Almost all of them picked someone in their family and the reason why. There was just an amazing feeling in the room. The best lessons for me, are when I could put meaning into lessons. Those are my most treasured teaching moments.

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The hardest things about china for you?

“For me eating was difficult because I’m gluten intolerant, so someone going who might have allergies, it may be a bit more difficult. I ate a lot of rice with different things on it of course, but it was hard to watch everyone enjoy eating dumplings and noodles and all these things I couldn’t enjoy, and knowing I wouldn’t ever get that experience; that was hard. I also had to pay more so I could eat, because noodles and dumplings were generally cheaper I had to pull money out of my personal budget to eat those meals, so that was difficult. It is kind of hard that the only people you can connect well with are the other English teachers which let you be really close to those people as well. You can connect with the Chinese people too it was just harder.

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“That is something I like about China Horizons is that I knew that I had someone who spoke English that was nearby where I was and that was super helpful, and comforting.

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I would invite everyone who decides to go to a foreign country or go with China Horizons, is to make every day an adventure. Every day when I wasn’t teaching, and I was teaching a lot, But I still had lots of time extra though I would go out and walk around my city and just explore. There were always amazing things to see, there was a beautiful river in my city of Zhenjiang. And a mountain in the city, and I went there one day and found a monastery. If you don’t go out and you are scared to go out and experience things. China will not be the experience you want it to be. Go out and Explore your own town you are not in a first world country anymore. You will only be there for a certain amount of time, so make it count.”

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