This is an embroidered picture of Da Li Tang, given to me on behalf of my Ph.D. class today (how the hell do I get this home? It’s HUGE). This week I’ve received a notebook filled with beautiful messages from my reading class as well as a really genuine notebook filled with special pictures and memories from one of my best students. On my birthday, one of my better students gave me a book that was significant to her and expressed her feelings about the class. My point here isn’t that these students are giving me gifts… It’s that in some small way, I (and the other foreign teachers) have made a difference.
On Tuesday, Marlie and I took out to dinner a group of students who are particularly special to use. At the end, one of them broke down in tears and began apologizing for asking too many questions and for being a bad student. It seems, in many ways, that this year has been a spectacular success. I believe we’ve pushed many of our students to think and express themselves in ways that they have never thought possible. Although the change isn’t significant in terms of numbers, there are a lot of students now who are more ‘free’ (in terms of thought) than they’ve ever been before. This post is for the students who care. As the time winds down, I realize more and more that I will really, really miss them.