Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A welcoming reception and new experiences for my teaching

Although this is the fourth week I have been at MVCC, I have not felt homesick or lonely. Here I feel very warm in such cold weather, and I am interested because I have learned some new things.

Two weeks ago, I went to Alison Doughtie’s office and I saw that she had a cartoon on her office door. Her students went there and took a photo of this cartoon and then they wrote something related to it. After that, they handed in it to her. Then she read the writing and corrected the mistakes. I like this idea. By doing this, students improve their writing skills and they have a chance to use the target language to express their feelings and ideas. As a result, they felt that learning English was really meaningful to them. Until now, at KGCC, I have not had opportunities to do this with my students. In the future, when I go back to Vietnam, I will use this approach to help my students to improve their writing skills. I think this is a new lesson for my teaching.

Alison's activity for her ESL class.

Last week, MVCC held a reception to welcome me. This was a big present that I received from MVCC. I would like to say “thank you” because MVCC gave me a chance to be here to learn something new, to share, and to make friends with everyone. I felt very happy because everyone gave me a warm reception. Here, I saw some female teachers wearing “Ao dai,” the traditional dress of Vietnam. When I saw them, I felt very happy because I knew they wanted to make me happy. On that day, I regretted that I couldn’t take a photo with all people in the reception; I just took photos with some people. And I didn’t have much time to talk to them because I had to attend the College Senate meeting.

 At the reception

That same week, I also saw the dismantling of a ceremonial sand mandala in the library. This is the first time in my life I have seen anything like that, and I liked it very much. It was wonderful. I will share it with my students and my colleagues when I go back to Vietnam.

Mandala ceremony in the Library.

I also learned about tipping at restaurants during a market tour with some international students. Frankly, in Vietnam, I had never taught my students about tipping when eating in a restaurant in the U.S. because I didn’t know why we should leave a tip. Last week, I went on a market tour with some international students and we ate in a restaurant. In addition to enjoying the new food and meeting new friends, I now understand why we left a tip. When I go back to KGCC, I am confident that I can explain tipping to my students.

Chicken Fata and Hummus & Tabbouleh Restaurant
Four weeks is not long enough, but I learned many things that will be very helpful in my teaching and my life. I was especially happy because I met and made friends with many people. That is a very valuable part of my trip to MVCC.

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