Between February 1988 and March of 1991 I lived and taught in the People's
Republic of China and Hong Kong.
Yunnan Center of Foreign LanguagesThe fall semester of 1988 I was asked if I would consider giving advanced oral English and TOFEL lessons at the Yunnan Center of Foreign Languages. This center was founded by Wang Kun, a long time educator in Kunming. He spoke perfect English and had opened the "private" school with the blessing of the Education authority in the province. This was a night school that served individuals that needed English for their jobs or that had hopes of passing the TOFEL test so that they could go to school in the U.S. We had students from many different occupations - Yunnan Tobacco Research Institute - Kunming T.V. Station - Information Center of the Yunnan Statistical Committee - Engineer Kunming Machine Tools - doctor of surgery - etc. Most of these students were between the ages of 25 and 40.
I worked at this night school 4 hours per week for three semesters. There were at least five other foreign English teachers working there during the same period. It seems that there might have been at least one class offered in French and one in Japanese also. I think I was paid about ¥10.00 per hour which would have been equal to about $100 U.S. per semester. I never worked just for the pay - I was there to learn as much about teaching English as a Foreign Language as I could.
I kept a small notebook on each class like the one shown here. A page was set aside for each student where I kept notes about their jobs, English level, reasons for taking the class, name written in Chinese characters (so I could fill out the report cards at the end of the semester), and information that would help me help them with their study. I still have all of those books.
The notebooks were also useful as scrapbooks - for trips or other events. Every scrap of
paper, news article, plane-train-bus ticket, etc. was pasted into the books at the end of the
day - along with memos about the days happenings.
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