I started teaching right after I obtained a BA in English from Fu Jen. Before I graduated from Fu Jen, I received a “second-hand” information from my friend who happened to have a friend that worked at the Continuing Education at Fu Jen Catholic University. (Hahaha. Networking is very important.) Apparently, the Continuing Education Department was accepting applications for instructors at the main campus in Hsin Zhuan. They were looking for teachers to teach a pronunciation class and an introductory conversation class. All I needed to do was to submit my resume, two lesson plans along with my full English self-introduction and a demo instruction on a cassette tape. It all sounds very simple and easy right now, but I was all stressed out then.

I really wanted the job but I also knew that may people, as some of my friends had revealed to me, were also eyeing for the same position. For an undergraduate student, it was very brave in my part to apply for the position. It was a good opportunity for me to go through the interview just for the experience though. I thought I probably would not get the job at all because I had to compete with all those graduate students from the Linguistics or English Literature departments. It was a bit intimidating. (Well, maybe I went to the right temple and prayed to the right God. Gee, it is too bad that I can not remember which temple I went to because I may have to ask for more luck. Hahaha…..) Somehow, I ended up with the job offer. You could imagine that I was totally on cloud nine.

I wanted to work at Fu Jen because I had full intention of applying for the graduate study in linguistics. Plus, they paid really REALLY well, way better than a language centre in Taipei. When I graduated, I was teaching at two different centres during the day in Tien-mu and Shih-lin. Life was good and the pay was even better. I liked working with children; however, without a degree in Education, a regular university graduate in English Language was not allowed to work in a formal school setting. So, it was a no brainer that I should happily accept the job to teach adults at the Continuing Education at Fu Jen Catholic University.

I started teaching in the evenings at Fu Jen a month after my graduation. I just loved to teach adults because the adult students came to my class with a different set of mentality and motivation which was quite different from the children’s classes. For one thing, I didn’t have to call their parents every week to discuss about why the students did not practice or put effort into their work. It was good to finally see students who truly wanted to be there and fully realized that they were in charge of their own learning.

I have to admit that it also felt good to be in charge of a class, my own class! It was not about a power trip but all about how I was able to try out my belief in teaching and learning a foreign language. I was animated (or tried to be animated without going too crazy) and brought in many ideas from situation role-playing. There are innate obstacles for Taiwanese learners in certain English pronunciation. By clearly identifying these common errors to my students in the pronunciation class, they were able to see and hear their own mistakes and advance to a different level. It is a kind of learning through try and error like sounding out the basic phonics. It went beyond any textbook. Traditionally, students had too many textbooks to study (e.g., those K.K. phonetic symbols) but they never fully internalized the concept to apply to real life practice. I wanted to give my students a “real life” experience as much as I could. Anyway, I guess I did all right because my contract was renewed every year until I resigned to come to Canada.

I did not follow through to pursuit the higher learning in linguistics or dramatic art in Taiwan. There was no other reason other than my financial restrain. I was lucky to have scholarship throughout my university after the freshman year, a part time job and a student bank loan to help pay for the rest of my tuition. I simply could not afford to support myself and my family if I quit my day and evening teaching jobs to study for the graduate school after the university. As I said, the income was good, I loved all my teaching jobs and my career just started to take off in Taiwan. Life was definitely great but then my father fell ill. Anyway, now looking back, I still have no regrets though. I ended up pursuing my career in education in Canada. I have never stopped taking courses for professional development. I am also into so many other interests and volunteer work. Trust me; this rolling stone gathers no moss here. Hahaha.

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My Corner for Education

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