Alumni Comments 2015

I thought that the program was beautifully organized. I appreciated all of the information that we received prior to departure, both on the logistics of the program and on the teaching aspects. I really benefitted from the webinars that Louie created because they gave me a pretty good idea of what was expected in the classroom. The teaching was a lot of work but it was interesting and fun work—and work I felt I could do because of the preparation we were given. I really felt that the support was excellent.

The one improvement I would suggest would be some sort of “introduction” before the actual program starts. I enjoyed all of the people on the 2015 program, but meeting them online before the program starts would be nice, especially since we spent 28 days together, in close contact. Just knowing a few things would have made use even closer.

Some people might appreciate a reading list on modern China. I came back from the trip with far more questions about China than I had before I left. I think it would be nice to give participants a list of books or articles about China and Chinese education.

I liked having a workroom and having young Eric, our intern, helping us with logistics and with translations. I used a lot of material that previous teachers had left behind. I thought the program was very well organized.

I did not understand anything about the schedule before school started. When the music went of signifying time for students to settle down and get ready for learning I didn’t know what it meant. But then I began to enjoy the schedule.

Also, I brought a small laptop (ASUS) with a cable for hooking up to a projector but my system (Microsoft 8) would not adapt to the school system. Fortunately, I had everything on a USB drive. I used a NFLS computer and my flash drive to have materials to project. I had heard that it was better to bring an old laptop, but I didn’t want to carry a heavy old computer. My light-weight laptop was good for producing work, but I had to put everything on a USB drive and transfer it to a computer that worked with the school’s projector. This was not a problem but would have been if there had not been an extra computer for me to use. I think it would be good to have very exact specifications. Also: EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A USB DRIVE (flashdrive) TO BACK UP ALL WORK. I used the projector quite a bit and I brought a lot of pictures and videos from home, all of which were on my flashdrive. Get a 32 or 64 gigabyte flashdrive to store everything.

I thought the food was very good. I loved almost all the vegetables—I like anything with eggplant. I like Chinese food a lot, so I was very happy with rice, vegetables, and watermelon for three meals a day. I only ate a little of the chicken or meat dishes, and I totally avoided the pastries because I thought they were dry and not very nutritious, but I loved the egg and vegetable dishes. My favorite dish was the cut cherry tomatoes with sugar—so sweet, fresh, and delicious! I always enjoyed lunch at school.

The hotels were fantastic! My favorite, of course, was the Grand Metro Hotel in Nanjing with its fabulous location close to the park and to some good shopping. Xuanwu Park was wonderful and added so much to my enjoyment of Nanjing.

All of the hotels had fine breakfasts, nice-size bathrooms with hair dryers, good showers, and sufficient closet/drawer space. Beds in China were hard but I slept really well, probably because I was so tired from the frantic pace of activities!

I thought that the hotels in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi’an, and Beijing were also very nice. The one in Beijing was like a luxury hotel in some ways and I enjoyed it very much. All of the accommodations were really nice—I could not have asked for more.

Our guides, Henry, Ruth, and Wei, were excellent. They were both helpful and knowledgeable, and efficiently guided us to our hotels and through tourist spots. I really enjoyed Wei’s insightful comments on modern China. Henry took care of all of our logistical problems. It was nice being able to hand our passports over to him and get an efficient group check-in. I loved being part of a tour group in China. In Nanjing after some time there we were able to do some things on our own—visit Purple Mountain and the Ming Tombs, for example, but it was nice having a tour guide initially.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

  1. Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) before you leave the U.S. This allows you to access the internet while you are in China. I bought mine at Best Buy and it worked really well.
  2. Remember you will be gone for a month and you might need some things that you wouldn’t think of packing. I needed toenail clippers and I didn’t bring any. Pack practical things—a sewing kit, nail clippers, first-aid kit, etc. I didn’t bring snacks because I enjoyed a month of Chinese food, but many people might want to bring peanut butter or oatmeal.
  3. You need to drink a lot of water to stay healthy. I bought my own plastic re-usable water container and filled it up with water I boiled in the hot-water pot in our hotel room. I also drank a lot of green tea and I think that prevented some illnesses. It is your responsibility to stay healthy—take the herbal supplements and get enough sleep. Because I ate a lot of salty foods, my left ankle was a little swollen. I tried just eating fruit for breakfast and that seemed to help. There was wonderful fruit for sale at markets in the street—it was easy to peel and was delicious. I avoided anything I couldn’t peel, but I had some fantastic peaches and mangoes.
  4. Most of all, realize that getting to go to China with the SCT&TP will be one of the best adventures of your life!

Gayle T.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

I had such a great experience in China this summer! Thank you so much for the wonderful opportunity. I am highly considering coming back next summer! Here is my feedback:

I thought the program was very well-organized - there were almost no travel issues. I liked how the teaching was in the middle of touring. I can't really think of anything that needs improvement- I think it is such a great program.

The management of the program on the school site was very good. Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging. I liked having time during the middle of the day to either relax or get lesson planning done.

The food at school was much better than I expected! A lot of different options. I loved the fresh fruit. Overall, I felt that it was very drenched in oils/sauces, which is not how I usually eat, but I was able to adapt to it and it was not bad at all.

The locations of the hotels were excellent! The hotels were also adequate in terms of cleanliness and comfort.. we were told upfront that the hotels were 3 star so that is what I expected. Some of us were surprised at how hard the beds were.. very different from home. Maybe this could be included in your information packet. It did not bother me, but it was difficult for some people to adapt to.

Charlie (National Tour Guide) was so sweet, very knowledgeable. The Beijing tour guide was excellent as well, he sang songs to us on the bus which was super cool. The female tour guide in Xian was very knowledgeable.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Bring a computer- I would have really, really struggled without mine!!!! I would reiterate what you've said about having materials ready before arriving- especially SONGS and VIDEOS- the kids absolutely loved them and were great teaching tools. The VPNs and internet access in general was spotty, so I was really happy that I had done some planning beforehand-downloading videos. Bring magnets (to put things on board), paper clips, and masking tape- very useful and not provided by the school.

**It rained A LOT while we were in Shanghai, and sporadically in other cities- many people were not prepared. Raincoat and umbrella a MUST!**

Thanks for everything!!

Danielle D.

2015 Suzhou Summer Exchange Program

Thanks again for allowing me to participate in such a great program. I had a wonderful time teaching and touring in China :)

I think that over all the organization of the program was very good. The flights, the city tours, the food and the teaching experience were all very well planned. I appreciate all the information of the host city, the suggestions for activities and the city map which were given to us.

I really enjoyed working with my link teacher. She was really helpful with the technology, supplies and other things.

The only thing that was little difficult was classroom management from time to time. The students were allowed to have too many items inside their desks and this became a problem when trying to get the students to stay focused and engaged

Another thing that would help with classroom management would be to have a more balanced boy-to-girl ratio. One of my classes had around 20 boys and only 10 girls. This created a few problems with the noise level and behavior issues. I feel that by having a more balanced ratio, behavior issues would lessen. Overall, it was a great experience and these a just a few minor suggestions.

The food at the school was great. I really felt that the school tried its best to present us with a variety of dishes in those two weeks. I appreciate all the snacks ( I loved all the fresh fruit) and the drinks which were available to us during our break times. My personal favorite dishes were the breaded fish and those that had a meat and vegetable combo.

I really enjoyed visiting all the cities. The hotels and the restaurants that serviced us were great. I liked how mostly all of the hotels we stayed at were either close to a subway station or in a central location where we could find different things to do.

The tour guides were great. Charlie, Kong and Ruth all did an excellent job at giving us information about the history of China and its cities. They were helpful and friendly. Kong made our trip memorable in a special way, he sang to us special songs in different Chinese dialects and it was very moving.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Trip preparation:

In preparation for the trip, I would just suggest for you to pack lightly. I packed only a few tops and bottoms that I mixed and matched and two nice dresses for the teaching portion and this was enough. Clothing made out materials that dry quickly are best to deal with the rain and are also easy to wash and dry. To deal with packing I bought some compression bags in which I was able to condense my clothing into a smaller pile. These were really useful and are pretty cheap. I bought 3 large bag for under $10 at Walmart. Also, for women with small shoe sizes ( 5- 7 ) its rather easy and cheap to buy shoes in China. You don’t have to bring more than 4 pairs of shoes( A pair to teach-flats, sandals, waterproof shoes and maybe some sneakers).

Another thing I recommend is that you bring a few smaller gifts aside from the ones you will give to the administrators and link teachers. Along this trip you will meet some amazingly kind and lovely people and you might want to give them something in appreciation for their help and friendship

Teaching:

In regards to teaching I found it was easier to teach a unit using mentor texts. I packed 11 stories in my suitcase and planned lessons around these. These mentor texts were great because I was able to draw key vocabulary, re-tell stories and created shared language experiences. I taught first grade also found it useful to set up a routine so as to not reinvent the wheel with every lesson. During the first period I had calendar activities and mini-shared language activities. In period two I used the mentor texts to introduce new vocabulary and read the text. During the third period I had the students participate in different shared language activities, we had our performance rehearsal and at times journal work. I brought two class sets of the 20 page composition notebooks and these were very useful for different activities. If you have a routine set up, it is easier to plan out your units. This worked for me.

Nancy R

2015 Suzhou Summer Program

I would like to thank you again for the amazing opportunity you gave me in taking part of china 2015!

Here is my input on your questions (I hope it helps):

Organization was great all around! Every detail was well planned. Things that went well was the ongoing emails from you and Lewie, on site training, written schedules, suggestions, tours, and pairing of roommates :-) Area for improvement:

  • Host teachers taking a more active role instead of just "texting" Continued to be a problem for me til last session. Maybe have more specific activities for them.
  • USA teachers getting ill must accept medical care because I think otherwise it contributes to others getting sick.
  • Meals for the first week during tours were almost always the same--have some flexibility to choose different or have other options. Buy own meal. First week was difficult since still adjusting.

School was great --particularly having the daily helpers (kids!)

School food was ok. I enjoyed the fish chunks / pieces, chicken nuggets, and always loved the watermelon. Overall- the choices were tasy. I just didn't care for the daily soup.

Accommodations were always clean and well serviced. The first bus was way too small and we had to travel with luggage inside bus but only for 1 day.

Loved all 3 guides. :-). Would appreciate to be told in advance that presentations would be made with a sales pitch at the end ( Tea Shop, Silk Shop, Jade Shop, and Confucious Temple - calligraphy..--since I would have donated since the presenter was a volunteer / teacher.

Suggestions for our future teachers: take fewer clothes than they think they will need, females take personal hygiene items from USA. ( no tampons), super good noodle place right around the corner ( looks like long hallway) --noodle dishes super good and inexpensive ( discovered last day), mall within walking distance from school with small food court of western food including subway -( closer for those not at main campus), take Lysol wipes ( couldn't find in China)

I hope this helps. I really had an amazing time especially at the Great Wall and Terra Cotta Warriors. I hope to do it again. Thank you!

Claudia D.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

First, thank you for giving me the opportunity to come to China this summer. I really had a fantastic time and am so grateful I was able to come. Everything ran smoothly and it was really nice to be treated like royalty by the school and the kids. We had such a great group of teachers, too! I felt like I could go up to anyone and feel comfortable having a conversation with them. I would definitely love to come back and participate in the program again!

I thought the organization of the program was excellent. All the info you provided before we left was very detailed and did a good job preparing me for what to expect. Thank you for that!

I thought the management on the school site was very good. Everyone was very friendly. They treated us extremely well and got us everything we needed. It was really nice they provided us with plenty of bottled water and fruit in the workroom and always made sure we were well fed. One suggestion I would have is that if the expectation is that we will have a Chinese teacher in the room with us, that the Chinese teacher actually be in the room with us. One of my room teachers was almost always in the classroom with me and was able to take care of any discipline problems that popped up, but one of my teachers was almost never in the room. It was my more difficult class out of the two so I could have used her help at times.

To be honest, the food was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I’m a pretty picky eater so I was prepared not to like most of it, but I was pleasantly surprised. By the second week I was often the only teacher eating the school lunch since all the other West Campus teachers would go out.

I thought all the hotels had a good location except for the one in Shanghai, but that was only for one night so it wasn’t a big deal. All of them were close to restaurants, shopping, and places to buy water. Getting to the main street from the entrance of our hotel in Beijing was frustrating (and often dangerous!) due to all the traffic and rickshaws. I thought the quality and service at the hotels was very good overall. I wouldn’t recommend the Holiday Inn Express in Shanghai though because I thought my sheets there smelled like bleach and they physically made me sick. Also, the breakfast in Hangzhou was all Chinese food (not even toast) but since it was only for two nights it wasn’t a big deal. Overall, I really was pretty happy with all the hotels.

I really liked Henry (our national guide) and our tour guide (Wei?) in Beijing. They both did an excellent job, were easy to get along with, and were full of really interesting information. I would highly recommend them to anyone. One thing I thought all of the tour guides could have improved on was keeping a more prompt schedule when it came to people shopping. I felt like multiple times 28 of us were kept waiting while 2 people wanted to shop at little stores. The tour guides didn’t seem to hurry them along or put any time limit on it. It would have been much better if they would have set an exact time when we were leaving and then kept to it so the majority of the group wasn’t waiting around while people shopped.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

I would highly recommend that teachers a VPN on both their computers and their phones so that they can access sites that are blocked in China. I would also tell them that there were multiple storage containers full of supplies and resources already there for them to use (at least at the West Campus.) I probably would have brought fewer resources with me had I known this. Also, I would recommend that teachers make sure they have plenty of extra room in their suitcases to bring things home with them since the students give so many gifts to you on the last day. I would say it’s a great idea to bring restaurant menus, sale flyers from the newspaper, and lots of youtube videos (saved on your computer) with you as they kids really liked all of these. I brought a lot of stickers to give out as prizes, but not one 5th grader chose them. The first prizes to go were the toys from the dollar store. I wish I would have brought more of these.

Anne A.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

I wanted to thank you and Mr. Mao for a truly incredible experience....definitely life changing in a most positive way. I made so many new friends, and had the opportunity to be a part of a different culture and share everything including the food, the rich history, the generosity, and that fabulous school. The people involved in all of my China experiences were all so amazing. Thank you again. I would like to do it again in the future for sure.

The organization was very well done. In general, I can't really think of any major issue or improvement that could be made. The areas we visited were all wonderful, although I felt at times it was too much to do in a day. (maybe because I am older?) I loved that everything was mapped out. I would have liked a little more down time.

The school administration went overboard. They did everything they could to please us and make us feel comfortable. My lead teacher was amazing (Evelyn). The room teachers were never introduced to us. I had 2 and wished we had some introductions. I got close to one and realized I never knew her name. It would have been nice if the staff introduced us.

I thought the food was OK. I liked the shrimp and they had a beef dish with onions that was yummy. I loved that they cooked some of their fish specialties from Suzhou. After a week it all seemed kind of the same. I was fine with it. I loved the fresh fruit everyday and they had extras for the tea in the afternoon and always had water...warm and cold. I am not complaining. It was pretty darn good for a school cafeteria. I am an adventurous eater and always tried new things.

I liked the first hotel the best. I think it was a Holiday Inn Express in Shanghai. It also had the best coffee. The place in Hangzhou was not so great in the cleanliness department. The place in Suzhou was just OK. It was nothing special but a perfect location to walk anywhere or get the metro. I was comfortable there. They had a great lobby and breakfast. The last place for me was fine. It was a little far from all the sights in Bejing but it didnt matter because we were all engaged talking on the bus. Tour guides were all exceptional, especially Charlie.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

If I were to give any advice to a teacher going on this program it is about the planning. I thought I had planned but not really. I spent 2-4 hours almost every night planning. Thank goodness for my 4th grade partner Danielle. She is a wiz on the computer and we planned together all those nights. I have to say it definitely was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be....but in a good and exhausting way. I wish I was more prepared so I would have had more free time in Suzhou to explore. I still was able to though since we stayed up too late and planned later in the evening.

I also brought too many clothes. It is easy to wash clothes there even though they take 3 days to dry.

I have told all my family and friends this was the greatest experience I have ever had (except running the New York Marathon in 1991). You did a great job of pairing up roomies and Mr. Mao always tried to get us whatever we needed; whether medicinal or for teaching a class.

Thank you again for this amazing, incredible experience.

Shelley F.

2015 Suzhou Summer Program

Hello Sally,

Thank you again for the opportunity to teach in China this summer. I had such an amazing time both inside and outside the classroom!!!

The organization of the program was amazing! It was very well coordinated from the start and detailed information was given. There was plenty of support to help us, teachers, prepare for the classroom in China. The logistics of the trip were excellent. The choice of places we visited were very well thought of and just spectacular!!!

The management of the program on the school site was even better! The school staff was very polite, always willing to help, and went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable. We had everything we needed: a nice workroom, technology assistance, spare teaching materials, and a nap room! Yes, a nap room!!!

The only thing I would suggest is providing some game options for the students to entertain themselves during recess. Maybe more ping pong tables, foosball tables, air hockey tables, board games, etc. The students seem to get in trouble during this time, 99% of any misbehavior or rough play occurred during this time.

The food at the school was good. I personally had a digestive issue, and although I loved the food, the food didn't love me. I really liked a dish that had steak and potatoes, it looked a lot like a stew. I did go out to lunch 75% of the time simple because my stomach was not used to Chinese food

I would recommend providing vegetables that are either raw or steamed. Many of us were not used to eating food where everything was fried, even vegetables

The accommodations were decent. We had everything we needed. All hotels had basic toiletries, a blow dryer, an electric water pot, and a TV. We always had breakfast at the hotel and it was delicious, with plenty of options. Most of the hotels during the touring part offered American and Chinese breakfast options.

The tour guides were very knowledgeable of their cities, always polite, flexible, and willing to offer information of the best places to go shopping, dinning, etc. I loved the fact that they were also very knowledgeable about the history of China and culture, which they were more than willing to talk about and take any of our questions.

For any future teachers participating in SCTNTP I would suggest the following:

  1. Start preparing for the classroom a few weeks before departing the U.S. Do not write step by step lesson plans, since you do not know the level of the students until you get there. Start collecting materials and organizing topics, save short video clips, powerpoints, and activities in your computer (and a flashdrive) as you do not have access to the internet in the classroom.
  2. Bring clothes that are light and easy to wash. It is VERY hot and humid during the summer in China. Also bring some comfortable open toe shoes. It is so humid that most of us wore some nice sandals for teaching. Bring a hat and sunblock. Bring some liquid detergent that you could use to do your laundry at the sink of the hotel (you may also buy detergent over there, there are plenty of stores nearby). Most of us opted to doing our own laundry. Bring mosquito repellent!!! Many of us got eaten by mosquitoes.
  3. Make sure that you have the right power cords for your laptop and other devices. In China the electric sockets are different. You may buy a converter over there 3-5 dollars. But when it comes to powering up your devices it is better to be prepared before you leave home.
  4. . Enjoy every moment of both teaching and touring!!! The students are thrilled to have a foreign teacher with them. Focus on everyday conversation skills, pop culture, and holidays. The students love to learn about that! Remember if you are excited to be there, the kids will be excited too! Take in the whole experience one day at a time, learn about the culture, history, and places from both the tours and your students. Take lots of pictures and don't be afraid to try new things... like deep fried scorpions, for example. ;)

Thanks for everything Sally!!!

Patty H.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

The program was very well organized. I liked the way you gave us information in staggered stages so we don't get overwhelmed (passport, visa, ticket, etc.). I liked the tours before and after teaching!

Commendation: Louie did a wonderful job sending information (text and videos) online and doing a demo at Laura's house how to do the strategies such as 3 levels of questioning, games, TPR, etc.

The most meaningful for me was the training in Suzhou with Abraham when he taught Chinese language to teachers. I felt what it meant to be a second language learner. Abraham applied a lot of the strategies that Louie sent (short videos online). I watched all those short videos and I understood them all. However, it was only when Abraham did it in context of teaching/learning 4 Chinese words that it all came together for me. I experienced what it meant to teach and learn a language lesson from beginning to end with those strategies.

The program on the school site is also well organized. I really enjoyed the extra curricular activities after lunch!

Accommodations were mostly great. Hotel location in Suzhou was the best! Air-conditioning can be improved. We slept better after buying a $7 electric fan :-)

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

  1. Having a 3-prong to 2-prong adapter is a must.
  2. Clothing material for hot and humid places: High-wet modulus (or modal) rayon.
  3. For long trips and anticipated diet change, instead of bringing medicine for constipation, I brought a bag of Kirkland Dried Plums (Prunes) and ate about 3 prunes per day (starting at the airport) for one week. I never had any problems. I shared the rest of the prunes to other teachers which helped them tremendously :-)
  4. Have as much fun, but don't overdo evening activities. Know your body. Health comes first, especially on teaching days.

Thank you very much, Mr. Mao and Sally, for giving me the opportunity to experience China! This is something I will never forget! Your dedication to the program is evident in the way you treat your teachers and I am honored to be a part of that!

Sincerely,

C. Y.

2015 Suzhou Summer Program

Hello Sally!

I just want to congratulate you on another year. It was AWESOME! We had a fantastic and I got to see many things I did not see last year. I hope to return next summer for sure!

This campus was fantastic. I loved our work space (we had private desks/tables) and the organization the school provided. I felt that the management was well. Food was good. I appreciated it very much. I’m not a picky eater :)

EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL!! The location of the hotel in Suzhou is really a blessing, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! It really is the heart of downtown and I had a fantastic time. The tour guides were great. They were helpful.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Everyone should be encouraged to read that handout packet that you send us. It’s a little long so people seem to skim through it too quickly (like myself) but it’s VERY informative! Thank you again!

Abraham G

2015 Suzhou Summer Program

The overall organization was good. Good communication and access to you. The staff there was very supportive and warm, and met our needs whenever we needed or requested anything.

I enjoyed the cultural programming here and there during the Nanjing portion. It might be interesting to arrange some opportunities for some intellectual exchanges, maybe a professor or teacher who can teach or discuss some historical or social issues.

The hotels were great with the exception of Hangzhou. The hotel was okay, but I've never slept on a bed that uncomfortable, and I travel a lot. It was like a piece of ply wood, literally. The Nanjing hotel was great, especially the location. The other hotels were all good as far as location and service. Tour guides were good.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Trip preparation: Get the VPN. Half the teachers got it after they got there, which is a little more difficult.

Trip and traveling: Don't complain. Remember when traveling with a group, your desire to take pictures, buy stuff, etc, is secondary to a group. So be on time, and remember that consideration of everyone around you is the least you can do to pay for this opportunity.

Dennis K.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

Dear Sally

It was such an amazing experience to be working with such inspiring professionals like yourself and Lewie. There were several things that I would like to comment on:

The first thing that I want to comment on were the overall group that went to Nanjing. Everyone was so great, and there was so much to learn from each person. Each person was unique, and they contributed to the overall group. At the end of the program, the group had gone from being strangers to becoming the SCTNTP 2015 family.

The program was so well organized. I felt like it was managed perfectly for us to enjoy the beauty that China has to offer. China was beautiful! It was nice having the teaching part in the middle of the program so we had time to adjust to the time change and to the weather- that way we could be at out 100%. The whole thing was very well organized.

The management at the school site was impressive. Things flowed nicely- like the transportation, cultural enrichment classes, prep area set up, etc. Although there is always room for improvement, I cannot see anything that management needs improvement on.

The teaching part of the program: It filled my heart to work with such sweet students. They were a pleasure to work with. Along with that, I appreciate the training we got from Lewie to better present the material that I brought. Aside from this, the room teachers were great! I got to work with Jessica and Jenny. They were very helpful.

The school food was great. The accommodations were very comfortable, and desirably located. This is true for all of the locations we stayed at. **I absolutely loved our location in Nanjing. It was right next to the lake, and I liked how we were able to join the locals in there evening exercise routines.

We were so fortunate to have such knowledgeable people as our tour guides. Henry has to be the best tour guide I have ever had in any of my travels abroad. Wei (I hope I spelled that correctly) was so passionate about Beijing, and we were able to see through her passion. I loved that. Our other tour guide in Xi'an was great too! I feel bad that I don't remember her name, but she brought a fun energy to the tour and made our trip memorable at Xi'an.

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Preparation for Teaching

  • Have many themes prepared.
  • Pick three songs you would like to perform. There might be someone else that wants to do the same one as you. Be prepared.
  • Implement the strategies that are given by Lewie.

Traveling in China

  • Wear comfortable shoes and do have a pair of waterproof shoes
  • Wear clothes that are breathable
  • Don't order drinks with ice, and do not drink the water (better safe than sorry)

Food in China

  • The food is very tasty, but if you are not use to eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, do pack snacks from home. I am a frequent traveler, and this is the first time that I struggled with just eating Chinese food. I did crave peanut butter, and wish I would have brought some on the trip.
  • Packing powdered Gatorade is a good idea. I took this advice from a previous post, and I'm glad I brought mine.

Most importantly, thank you Sally for doing such an amazing job putting all of this together. In addition to putting this program together, I really felt your support all the way through. It was a wonderful experience working with you

I hope you had a great summer, and hope to join the SCTNTP once again in the future.

Sincerely,

Lisett D.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

The organization of the program was fantastic. You were very informative and the webinars were as well. You have a wonderful team in place and it made preparations for the summer easy.

Management of the school site was fantastic as well. Faye was pleasant and provided us with everything that we needed to be successful. Internet connection could be improved. No classroom management issues at all. Not like my classes this year! I have a TOUGH group this year.

Food at the school was sufficient. It got old but everything was edible and I never left hungry. The accommodations were more than I expected by far. Every hotel was amazingly located and comfortable. Nanjing especially was amazing. Being on the lake allowed us to having relaxing nightly walks or dancing and kept us in a great mental space.

Tour guides were friendly and Way in Beijing was especially informative in terms of Chinese history. Chai was helpful when I had issues with my flight to Hong Kong when I figured out that I had a different flight than everyone else.

Suggestion for future teachers:

Future teachers should know that the majority of students are not as fluent as I was initially lead to believe. I had to modify lessons that I planned because fluency was nowhere near what I thought it would be.

Thank you again Sally. I had the time of my life and I hope that you will allow me to go back someday.

Take care,

Ted Z.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

Hi Sally!

Thank you again for an incredible experience. I'm still raving about my summer in China. I will never forget it!

Program was incredibly well organized. Mr. Mao and Jason are phenomenal! As are the school staff. We were treated with great respect and always felt comfortable. No suggestions there. :)

I enjoyed having the fresh fruit and veggie snacks. Lo mein was good. All the fried food I did not like as much. I know Chinese food is prepared differently, but I would recommend preparing it with less sauces/oil.

Accommodation was wonderful! However, guests should be informed that hotels are NOT smoke-free. Most Americans are not used to the smell of smoke.

The service of your tour guides was phenomenal! We loved Charlie and Khan. :)

Constructive suggestions for our future teachers:

Make sure you download the popular Chinese social media/chatting app - "WeChat." My fiance and I both downloaded it before I left and this is how we always texted/video chatted during my month away. Also, most of the teachers in China have this app and will be posting pictures of you teaching! You will want to "friend" them so you can see and stay in touch! They'll also be impressed with your Chinese cultural proficiency. :)

Katherine Y.

2015 Suzhou Summer Program

Dear Sally,

First and foremost, I want to thank you for the opportunity to teach and travel in China. Perhaps the trip wasn’t life changing, but it was certainly life-affirming. The best part was the opportunity to stay in one place for two weeks and interact with people as a teacher. I loved the opportunity to learn a little about the city of Nanjing too. Staying in one place allowed us to get to know the local dry-cleaner’s family, the dancing groups in the park, and so much more. As for teaching, what a pleasure to teach in a place where it is okay to accept hugs from children. I loved them and the teachers from the school in my classrooms.

The travel and tours were very well organized. I loved all of our guides, and learned so much from all of them. Henry and the Beijing guide both made it extremely easy to ask questions. It would be nice to travel without a layover in Hong Kong, but I do not know the price breakdown for the flights and perhaps I would make the same decision to lay over as the travel agency did. In any case, the very best surprise of the trip was our night in Hong Kong due to a missed flight. I was thrilled to see a place I have wanted to see since reading Tai Pan in the early 80s.

The best tip I got before leaving? Bring a washcloth to wipe off sweat while teaching. I would add, bring a couple so you can launder them. My biggest problem was not having the correct connector to my laptop. I had to rely on my teacher’s laptops. Perhaps make it clear that one needs a VGA connector. (I had an adapter for a mini HDMI to regular HDMI. I needed a mini HDMI to VGA. Sigh. One of my teachers bought a connector for me after the first week.)

Meeting at Laura’s house was a big help too. I’m lucky to be from southern California where so many of us live. Perhaps I should say that the very best part of the trip was our group. I love every one of them. Lewie is an excellent leader.

Thank you so much. This came during a difficult time in my life, and it was the very best opportunity I could have had. I hope I have added to the lives of the students half as much as they have added to mine. I loved China!

Julie C.

2015 Nanjing Summer Program

Hello: It's hard to believe I've been back to school over 8 weeks and am at the end of the first quarter with tests and grades looming. Not only has the time flown by since our trip to China but the memories of small moments in the teaching day are receding from my mind as the space is taken up with freshman boys and algebra classes. I'm so glad I took photos (although nowhere near Bertie's record of over 4000!) and kept a daily journal.

From a 'large picture' perspective, I can't say enough wonderful things about the program - the organization of our sightseeing and wonderful guides, our accommodations in each city, the teacher's work room with so many supplies (I could have taken half of what I packed and still had more than enough) and daily fruit (already washed!) to the little daily details of bug spray and medicine for whatever ailed us. Any time I mentioned needing something - help with the WiFi for my iPad or directions to a good massage place - it was taken care of immediately. Thank you and your staff for taking care of business so quickly and professionally.

Suggestions: * Perhaps the program could provide or suggest to participants that they bring a small book called Point It, A Traveler's Language Kit. It's small - about 3"X5" and less than 1/4" thick paperback with hundreds of pictures of all sorts of things that you can point to when trying to make yourself understood; basically a picture dictionary. I've had it with me on most of my travels but haven't used it much since it's fairly easy to find an English speaker in most European countries. In China, I did more pointing and miming and found the pictures very helpful (before I remembered I had it with me, I took a photo on my phone of a sign for the woman's bathroom when I needed to find one and couldn't make myself understood.)

And finally, to the often asked question "Would I do it again?" the answer is a resounding YES.

Thank you, Sally, for all the hard work you did in choosing the participants, organizing our trip, keeping us informed at every stage along the way, for your cheerleading each day of teaching and your general care and concern once we were in China. It was truly a trip of a lifetime.

Diane T.

2015 Nanjing Program