It’s been so long since my last post here that I needed to go back and see where I left off, just to know where to begin my severely truncated update on my life in China thus far, and beyond, because actually, I’m not even in China right now, but back in Japan! It is currently the winter holiday/Chinese New Year vacation, so because I never actually left academia, I now have a month-and-a-half-long holiday. So far during this break I’ve visited Beijing for 5 nights, Shanghai for 3 nights, Naha (in Okinawa, Japan) for 4 nights, Osaka for 1 night, Kyoto for 1 night, and am on my back to Takamatsu, where I’ll be staying for the next 2 weeks! The same Takamatsu from DanInJapan.
Now for a bit an overly brief summary of the last two-and-a-half months since my first trip to Seoul. In that time I finished teaching my first course, Fundamentals of Engineering, began teaching Statics, went to Seoul again, finished teaching Statics, and began what already has been and will continue to be probably one of my best vacations ever.
A fact that should probably go without saying, but what I’m going to say anyway is, that being a college course instructor is an incredibly time-consuming occupation. Not including the fact that due to poor communication between the university that I am teaching at and their foreign teachers (i.e. myself and my colleagues) my course’s length was shortened beyond the initial length, but the initial length was already half of a normal semester, so the actual content was very much condensed. Between having to refresh myself enough on the lecture material to be able to teach it properly, planning lessons in order to teach it effectively, developing assessment materials, grading assessment materials, and actually delivering lectures, I was a busy boy. All that aside though, it was a fantastic experience. Now that all is said and done for my first ever semester teaching engineering as a university instructor, I feel so fulfilled and inspired to do better and better in my work. I feel personally invested in my students’ success, and when many of them ended the course with high marks, I was so proud and pleased with what we had accomplished together because (and I can vouch for them) this course was not an easy one. Based on the students’ performance in these classes, as well as the English class, their transcripts and TOEFL/IELTS scores, and us, the instructors’ recommendations, Valparaiso University will admit 20 student from the program. But even though this semester is over and decisions will soon be made, there is another semester yet to come, where I’ll be teaching Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials.
Some other events that I will try to touch on in subsequent posts will include (but is not limited to):
- the Dalian Jiaotong University Student-Held Table Tennis Tournament
- Christmas in Dalian
- Seoul trip #2
Pictures and further narration to come! (Hopefully!)