My First Experience of Teaching Chinese in Miramichi
Written by Zhang Xiaoyu
November 26th, 2014, after a 21hours' journey, I finally reached Miramichi，a small city in New Brunswick where I would start my teaching as the Chinese teacher by myself. The principal gave me the period before Christmas to observe other teachers' classes and get familiar with the environment. During this period, I began to know and love the small city and learn to be grateful.
The school principal Jennifer, a smart, capable, and nice lady, encouraged me to participate in various social activities in and out of the school, and actively integrate with my new colleagues. And because of her, I met Donald, Jane, John, Juxia and many other friends. In my spare time, I talked with them about China, taught them to appreciate and savor green tea and to use chopsticks. And on snow days, John and I made snowman together, and cook Chinese food. I had just learned how to make dumplings before going abroad, but to thank my friends, I spent a lot of time making dumplings for them, very tired yet very happy. And my first Christmas Day in Canada is unforgettable, my friends and I prepared gifts for each other, and shared happiness with each other, just as a Chinese saying goes “Roses given, fragrance in hand.” The winter of 2014 was special, full of love and warmth.
In 2015, with love and encouragement form my family and friends, I began the arduous challenge of teaching in Harkin Middle School, which is a bilingual school with both English and French courses. I was the first Chinese teacher in this school, and their understanding of China is very limited. As a layman in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, all that I can do is to start early and work hard. Before my teaching, I prepared the whole semester's teaching plan and adjusted it as needed.
I was given the chance to teach the top students in Grade 6,Grade 7 and Grade 8 in their social study class. My teaching plan has 2 major parts: the Chinese language class and the Chinese Culture experience class. In the Chinese language class, I teach the kids Pinyin, which is the phonetic alphabets of the Chinese characters, or simply speaking, the sound of Chinese characters. Because each Chinese character is accompanied by Pinyin, it’s a very basic and crucial part, for the students to learn. In order to help them learn Pinyin well, I compare the Chinese Pinyin with English letters in terms of the place of articulation and the manner of articulation. Sometimes, songs and nursery rhymes are used to make it easier and more interesting. Besides Pinyin, the students learn some basic and simple Chinese characters, a kind of pictorial symbols, and you are not just writing them, but more like drawing them. And, in the Chinese language class, students can also learn some simple spoken Chinese. For example, how to greet people in Chinese, how to ask and answer questions about people’s age, how to describe a person in Chinese, how to describe your room, how to distinguish the Chinese money and learn kinship terms in Chinese, and some common terms in Chinese, etc..
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