Blayn Lemke, Visiting Professor at Jiaxing University
Blayn Lemke and Charles Jianguo Guo, are two professors that share an interesting thing in common, not only do they both teach here at ARCC, but they also teach at Jiaxing University, a college in China.
“I got my start in teaching over at Jiaxing four years ago when they sent an e-mail to ARCC inviting a creative teacher to teach on their campus to students in English,” said Lemke.
From there he applied and was accepted and given a fully paid trip to stay at Jiaxing and teach two classes a week for a month. When he arrived in China he was surprised to find out that he would be teaching English not to teachers that were preparing to be English teachers, but to teachers that would become Chinese teachers.
“Initially, the language barrier was huge,” Lemke said.
Lemke actually went back to China more recently, and the second time he was able to teach second year students how to be better English communicators. He taught six classes this time.
During his second term, he prepared his students for a big test called “gaokao.” This is the test Chinese students take to prepare them for the rest of their lives. This test determines whether they go to college, and if they do, which college they will be able to go to.
Lemke had to leave before the students took their gaokao, so he did not get to see how they would do. In October however, he received an e-mail containing the results on how his students did.
“The e-mail had said that 68.6 percent of my students had passed the test. I was joyous. The national average for passing the test was only 51.3 percent,” said Lemke.
For Lemke, teaching in China was beneficial. “It was very rewarding to teach in an environment where the students were trying so hard at their lessons, and it truly inspired me,” said Lemke.
Due to his great success in teaching at Jiaxing, he has been invited back to China from mid December to early January to do guest lectures. “If I could go back and change one thing about my teaching abroad experience, I would stay the whole year at Jiaxing instead of only a semester. As a traveler I would like to see how they structure their school year differently in relations to their holidays and seasons,” said Lemke.
In addition to ARCC sending a professor to China, each year a Chinese scholar travels from Jiaxing to Anoka Ramsey. While Lemke was in China he was able to meet all of the Chinese scholars that had traveled to Anoka in past years.
Currently at ARCC Coon Rapids, there is a Chinese scholar teaching Chinese to students. His name is Jianguo Guo, but he is also referred to as Charles. He will be at ARCC until the end of the 2016 school year.
When asked about the differences between Chinese students and American students, Guo has noted a few things.
“Chinese students are well motivated, because they have to be. In China, you cannot drop a class and you have to pass in order to stay on the path to get an education. But here, two of my eleven students have dropped the class, which is unheard of in China,” said Guo. He explains that experiencing his students drop his class has given him as a teacher a lesson.
“Trying to accept the reality that no matter how hard you work, some students will still not be satisfied. You cannot please everyone’s appetite, but you can please 98 percent of people’s appetite,” said Guo.
Guo says that his experience teaching here at Anoka Ramsey will definitely change the way he teaches when he returns to China. In Chinese learning, the teachers are very strict when they teach. Since he has taught here, Guo has learned that students have varying levels of abilities and he has learned to teach with more consideration.
According to Guo there are some things that are surprising about teaching in China. “The level of self discipline and the way Americans follow rules is much different compared to how Chinese follow rules and have self discipline. Here students and teachers are always on time or early, and in China, students and teachers are sometimes on time, sometimes late,” said Guo. Guo will be returning to China in Spring 2016.
(Credit: CampusEye. Please note that ISAC re-post this article from years ago in order to let foreign teachers know more about teaching in China from others’ experience. Some of the information in the article might still hold true for now but not all)
Introduction to Jiaxing University
Jiaxing University (JXU) started in 1914, and the school is located in Jiaxing. It is located in the southeast coast and the center of the Yangtze River Delta. It is connected to Shanghai in the east, Suzhou in the north, Hangzhou in the west and Hangzhou Bay in the south. It has unique geographical advantages, developed industries and economy. Prosperity is the birthplace of the Communist Party of China, the birthplace of Jiangnan culture, the permanent site of the World Internet Conference, and the comprehensive demonstration of the Shanghai demonstration zone in Zhejiang Province.