It’s my first fourth day back in the classroom. Expecting to teach fourth year students, I prepared a rather intensive syllabus. This morning, the foreign teacher’s bus arrived almost five minutes late to the new campus; mostly due to traffic. I hustled to get to the new language labs where I’ve been placed in a multimedia room on the fourth floor. I reached the classroom, harried and out of breath, to see the second year students eagerly awaiting my arrival! I taught these students their first semester last year. I’m realizing now if I had just asked my supervisor, I could have avoided this “loss of face.”

It’s nice to know that China, four years in, can still manage to keep me on my toes.

Perhaps you are wondering what I did with my students, now knowing full well that I really, unfortunately, had very lofty goals. I tried my best to readjust my syllabus, simplifying it, but I now have far more work to do in that department. I asked the students to do two in-class writing assignments: free writing and a self-assessment essay. I intend to continue free writing as a warm-up exercise at the beginning of every class period. I also want to give them group assignments including a group essay and presentation.

I’ve given them assigned reading for next week. I’m hoping that it is not too difficult and that I can then assign them group work; I will give them time to complete the group work in class as well as at home. The following week I want them to present their findings from the assigned reading via a concise group presentation.

Although my readers may not be teachers, many of you certainly are writers. Therefore, what are your thoughts, suggestions, and the like?

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