It’s hard to believe that my adventure in Dalian is almost over. I fly to Beijing Tuesday eve for a brief overnight stay before boarding my plane back to Toronto on Wednesday.
Before that, however, I have to give my students their final exam on Monday night. Given that English is a second language to all of these students and some have a better grasp of it than others, I’m a little worried that the exam might be too long or too tricky. I’m hoping that I’ve managed to use terms that are simple enough – but not too simple – when drafting up my questions. Of course, what I think is simple might still be rather complicated for the students who have had very little practice speaking the language.
Our last class was on Friday night. While I didn’t cover all of the topics that I would normally cover in a 12-week course, I’m actually surprised at how far we got. Having younger, less experienced students than I would normally have in this course1, I was forced to modify some of the content and how I normally deliver it. This also meant that I had to rethink certain concepts and look at them in a new light. Ultimately, this provided me an opportunity to understand what I’m teaching in new ways, and therefore be able to teach the concepts from different angles. While this means a substantial amount of work, it’s also a huge plus because now I’m going to be coming back to Guelph with a few extra tools and tricks for my class. I’m hoping that it will mean my students in Guelph will end up with an even better learning experience.
The last few weeks teaching at Dalian have been such a fantastic experience. I was a little nervous going into this because I wasn’t sure if the language barrier would be too much. I also wasn’t sure if my teaching style would translate. Roughly three weeks later, I can happily say neither were an issue.
While I’m going to miss this place, the students, and the faculty that I’ve worked with here, I still have a few more days to enjoy the city. And of course, there are already plans in the making to have me return here next summer for 4-6 weeks.
1 For example, the students in Dalian – being in 2nd year – would only now be taking a databases course. This is something I assume my students in Guelph have studied.