The Importance of Teaching Stories to ESL Students

In my experience, I’ve learned the hard way that kids NEED lots of visuals and physical movement, which, when incorporated by the teacher into a lesson plan, can be used to one’s advantage in teaching basic English. Stories, especially story-telling and story-making, all provide a plethora of great options for familiarizing early learners with English sounds, words, and basic sentence structures. Stories also give young children a much-needed outlet for creativity and cross-cultural learning in addition to building their English language listening skills.

Leaving Lishui

A move is in my future! I’m still coming to grips with my decision to leave my beloved home of two years, a place I’ve come to view as my Chinese hometown. It’s a big change that I have mixed feelings about, but it promises lots of new responsibilities and opportunities for growth that’ll be beneficial in the long run. This is a synopsis of the ups and downs of the last few weeks of the term and subsequent decision on my part to let go.

Anniversary Sirens for the Great Sichuan Earthquake

I woke up this morning to an air raid siren and a woman’s voice issuing a countdown. Groggy and confused, I wondered if we were under attack. I looked out the window and saw cars driving down my busy intersection and figured that it must be a practice signal, like they do with the Amber…

Songyang 松阳: Damunshan Tea Fields and Old Street

Songyang is one of Lishui’s nine counties in Zhejiang and focuses most of its industry in producing high-quality teas. Over 7,500 hectares (about 29 square miles) of the county is devoted solely to the cultivation of tea fields, with more being created every day. A group of friends and I went on an excursion into Zhejiang’s rural countryside in search of these famous tea plantations to experience the hype for ourselves.

It’s Mulberry Season!

Long rows of short, crowded mulberry trees stretched far beneath covered canopies of mesh wire fencing and plastic tarps. We’d driven a bit further out of the main area of town, near the old abandoned west bus station where I’d first taken a trip out with my 8th graders two years ago. The heat was sweltering, and I regretted not putting on more sunscreen as I pulled my hair up out of my eyes. Armed with my little blue basket, I followed my student and his parents into the dense branches of berries…

The Sad Closure of Lishui’s Only Walmart

Word leaked about a month ago that Lishui’s Walmart was to close on April 16, 2019. A document in Chinese that was shared on wechat sent shock waves through our town. While Walmart hasn’t always had it easy breaking into the Chinese market, it had grown to become a beloved store in Lishui.

Happy Year of the Pig!

新年快乐! 恭喜发财! Spring Festival is upon us! This February 5th, 2019 marks the beginning of the year of the Pig! Why is this important? It’s is the final year in the 12th-year zodiac cycle! This means we can all indulge in a huge sigh of relief and reap the benefits of having worked hard the…

Early Holiday Season Recap

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks! Where did November and December go? Now that my classes are finished (as in my classes were co-opted for test review), I actually have free time to blog. Thanksgiving The AYC Thanksgiving this year was held by my friends, Dani and Rachael, as is the tradition for…

Halloween 万圣节 2018

The week of October 19th-24th, I gained permission from my school to take a break from our readings to teach solely about one of my favorite holidays, citing it as an “important part of Western culture.” The students seemed to get a kick out of my costumes, and were pretty attentive for the duration of…

Xia He Tower 廈河塔

I could catch glimpses of the clear silhouette of the skinny pagoda, visible against the green backdrop of the mountains, and as I zigzagged through traffic, I decided to just go for it. My bike was running on a full night’s charge, and I was feeling good after successfully picking up my train tickets. I…