Alumni Update: Tan Lihua
Tan Lihua's proud students show off their poster making projects


My “new” teaching life began on September 1st. The night before I met my new students, I couldn't sleep at all; excited but worried. How can I teach them with both Chinese way and American way? How can I help them get some original English resources? I've got too many questions in my mind. However, the moment I stepped into the classroom, their smiles on the face inspired me with great courage and confidence. They are very good students, polite、well-behaved and dedicated.

The first thing before I returned back to China was to keep in touch with my American students. Students in one Chinese class and one Social Studies class were very enthusiastic about having pen pals with my Chinese students. We teachers collected their email, their interests and their preferences. When the students got their pen pal’s information, my students wrote to them. My students in China are so excited to have a real American friend to write to. It’s also a very good opportunity to teach them how to create and send a formal email. Every week, us teachers will give them an assignment to finish with their pen pals and they will report what they get. I’m so proud of what they have done, and the enthusiasm that they show when they are communicating with their buddies We also had a few opportunities to Skype with American students, where they got the chance to talk to each other face to face.

Another important project is making posters. The first task for my students was about Malala Yousafzai. They hung up their works in the hallway so teachers and other students could have a look. Everyone was very impressed by their works. Students also make up stories with their group members together every week, write them down on the chart paper, and put them up on the classroom wall. Everyone can read each group’s stories. Students are highly motivated by this writing gallery.

Most of my students like reading very much. I work with their Chinese teacher and we set up a small library in their classrooms. I made a list of the most popular books, and students chose one. We bought these books either from Amazon or an online bookstore. I also asked my American friends to help me buy some and send them to me. Now my students have many original English resources to read. I have high hopes that these extracurricular reading activities will enable them to broaden their horizons.

My colleagues are very interested in what I’m doing with my students. They observed my class and I shared a lot of what I have learned in America with them. They are open-minded and willing to use these methods too. I believe my students will make great progress with the help of these new strategies. Even though only been two months since the new semester started, I feel quite joyful and grateful to have these students work together. They have given me great support to me and try to cooperate with me. Therefore, I am confident enough to apply the American teaching methodology to my class in China. I suddenly realize that my American teaching experience is actually not over. My teaching methods and overall style has developed so much from my time in the US, and I'm so excited to keep developing myself as a teacher and using what I learned from my time as a TCLP Teacher.