Crest of the wave simply means the highest or culminating point or the peak, just like my teaching experience in Wenzhou University, it’s one of the crest of my career, my life.
I would like to share here the essay that I wrote for the speech that I have prepared for the awarding ceremony for the Foreign Expert Award and West Lake Friendship Award to remind myself how God has blessed me, though years has passed, the memories still tucked deep in my heart. I hope this will also serve as an encouragement and inspiration to all my fellow Filipinos working overseas to always do our best, be a pride of our country and to bring glory to GOD for all the gifts and blessings He have bestowed on us.
Working overseas provides opportunities for individuals who want to make a meaningful contribution to international education by living and working as teachers or professors in fast developing countries like China. A sleeping dragon no more, China’s economy is booming with increasing opportunities. Three years ago, I traveled in China as a tourist, had visited several cities like Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. I was amazed by the diverse cultures and practices, so when I had the opportunity to work here without any hesitations, I wholeheartedly accepted the job offer. I’m so excited to live in a new country, a new city; living in China is something I always look forward to. Most of the time I keep contemplating on what vital contribution I can make to the society most especially for the young students who are eager to learn and wants to broaden their horizons in learning.
December 25, 2008, is one of the most unforgettable dates in my life, I’m one of the awardees’ for “2008 Foreign Expert Award” given by the Government of China for my contribution in the field of education. I’m really thankful and accepted the award proudly, not just for myself, but on behalf of all our international and Chinese work colleagues, who have made such achievements possible. Given this kind of recognition from China, the more I became inspired and motivated to contribute to the society most especially to the education of the students who will cultivate the future success of this country. We all know that education is the best route to develop individuals, and it is through developing individuals that we can build up our nation. It is about developing each individual’s unique talents and abilities to the full, about teaching him to appreciate the finer things in life and the beauty of the world around him.
I still remember my first day of class, the first time I entered into the classroom. Silent, smiling faces stare expectantly as I step up on the raised platform. The room is crowded. Around forty Chinese college students sit on small, wooden stools behind simple desks. I introduced myself and turn to write my name on the blackboard. Everyday was a challenge. University students can be very shy. This goes especially the freshmen, many of whom are away from home for the first time. Outwardly, they are very respectful, and sometimes the entire class will greet me when I enter the classroom saying, “Good morning Professor, Riz”, in unison. The first time this happened to me, I was speechless, I was so surprised. They seemed so formal, so polite and so adorable.
But when I call on the students to participate in class, I often find that they hold back. This is either because they are afraid to make mistakes, or because they are shy to speak in front of their teacher. Sometimes when I asked them a question they won’t respond at all, the entire class looks as if it were on a lifeboat drifting across the Pacific, they smile, look down, look at each other and giggle, but nobody speaks. I have to find a way to get them to come out of their shells and open up, so they can learn something. One thing I have learned to do is to put them into small groups and let them to the exercise that way, sort of like a workshop. Then, I come around and check how each group is doing. I desperately find ways to allow each student to learn, working together in groups was new to the students, but they are becoming accustomed to the unexpected. I’ve stayed here for several years, and have seen great and it’s a great sense of fulfillment for me as their teacher. I have witnessed their progress everyday, step by step they are getting out of their shell, and they are becoming more expressive, outspoken and confident.
From year 2007 up to present I have been working in the university. Augmented student learning through the use of extensive teaching methods that will create proper learning and ensure high quality of is continually provided. Keeping myself focus in developing and implementing creative, hands-on curriculum that reaches every student’s learning style and ability, empowering student to succeed and realize their individual goals, I always tell my students every time we have a class, “ Don’t be shy”, and it has been one of my trademarks with my students. I immensely enjoy working, my teaching experience here has continually helped me to grow professionally, and most importantly I have met a lot of good friends and have worked with great colleagues. I have also done volunteer works such as coordinating student group performances and activities including competitions. I had students who had won several competitions. Their success is my success too, I always feel proud of them. Most of the time, I usually find and spend time with my students beyond class hours, like in a camp, or if they have a class party, or simply having dinner with them, it’s a good opportunity for me to get to know my students personally that I don’t really want to miss.
I had also conducted classes and trainings to post graduate students. Teaching post graduate students had been a challenge for me; some of them are even older than me and have been already working as teachers too. But it has never been a hindrance, every time we will have a class I can see their eagerness to learn. I’m glad to say up to now I still keep in touch with them.
For the passed years I have witnessed the appreciation of Chinese people to recognized foreign experts who have given enthusiastic support to China and “West Lake Friendship Award”, is one the most honorable one. I salute the government of China for their continuous support and recognition to the foreigners who have made special contributions to the country’s growth in economy, technology, culture and education. It has been an encouragement for me and for more foreign experts to contribute to the economic and cultural development in China so as to promote the globalization. We are in no doubt that Zhejiang has a vital role in China achieving its full potential. At the outset I should confess my delight at the impact of this award, I consider it such a great privilege to be a candidate for West Lake Friendship Award. This kind of recognition highlights the role of Sino-foreign exchanges in realizing China’s goals as a global nation.
As time passed by, the more I realized teaching is not just about standing in front of the classroom – it’s about coming up with creative ideas to engage and hold the attention of all your students and to make learning fun for both of you. It’s a give and take relationship. I strongly believe that this can only be achieved through the use of an integrated curriculum cooperative learning, hands-on/minds-on activities. The whole process of preparing and delivering lessons that is absorbing and this has helped me discover and develop skills that I probably didn’t even know I had. I want my students to grow socially as well as academically, to be involved and responsible citizens of society. Teaching is a passion, having passion in what you do, most importantly with all sincerity it must come from the heart. It is my wish that my students will continue to develop their potential in all aspects of their life through their education and personal endeavors.
Teaching abroad, in China offers a world of professional development and personal adventure. It has helped me to become a global citizen. The prosperous economy and rich culture of China has made me stay here for so long. It has given me a sense of fulfillment realizing that I have imparted a great value on education and the wholesome upbringing of students. I have been entrusted with the responsibility of guiding, motivating and inspiring future generations of young Chinese. It reminds me that teaching is not just about getting through the syllabus, but about interacting with your students, guiding them through the choices in life that they have to begin to make, helping them stand up to difficult situations without backing off, and inspiring in them the spirit of care and concern that I myself displays as a teacher. We need to educate our young people to become adults who cherish the values of education, for it can contribute to nation-building. The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for global economic success.
Working and living in China is incredibly worthwhile, memorable experiences comparable to the exhilaration of living within a different culture. The time I spend here allows me to enjoy the vibrant mix of traditions and cultures, along with the legendary friendliness of the Chinese people. I’m so grateful and honor to work, to serve, to share my knowledge and impart the best of my ability to the Chinese people. I love this country for so many reasons & now consider it to be my second home. I fell in love with this country. Throughout my experience, I have felt grateful and rewarded every step of the way.
With all my heart I want to share this award and say thank you to my family in the Philippines who has always been my inspiration, all these years although they’re not here to personally witness this milestone in my life I know how happy and how proud they are for my achievements. To my parents, my Mama whom I love most, my Papa who has instill in me the value of education ever since I was young although he’s gone, I know he’s looking down from heaven and I made him proud, my siblings, to my Aunt Agnes whom I considered as my second Mom for all the help, support and generosity she has continually given me. For my fellow Filipinos, for my wonderful friends, my colleagues, my dear students and everyone who always makes my stay more enjoyable and memorable. For everyone who has been a part and has touched my life in so many ways, thank you. To the Chinese people, thank you, I feel at home here, I feel welcome, truly living in China is a life changing experience, a significant part of my life that I will always treasure in my heart and thank God for. Everything I have now is from God, apart from God I can’t do nothing, this award is first and foremost for Him, Who has changed my life and the Giver of all these blessings, I’m returning all the honor and glory to my Almighty Father. Thank you so much.
“Everything I have now is from God, apart from God I can’t do nothing, this award is first and foremost for Him, Who has changed my life and the Giver of all these blessings, I’m returning all the honor and glory to my Almighty Father. Thank you so much.”