Megan Jefferies came to Taiwan to teach English about two years ago. Instead of staying in the big cities, however, she went all the way to Kinmen County and did voluntary teaching at Chong-cheng Elementary School. The amazing interactions with children and friendly people, she said, have made it very hard for her to leave the school.
Enjoying the teaching experience in Taiwan very much, Jefferies, as well as 11 other English teachers from the US and Canada, decided to stay for another year to voluntarily help children in rural areas learn English.
Wearing cheongsams and traditional mandarin jackets, a total of 25 foreign English teachers came together yesterday to share their experience and bid farewell to their colleagues who are leaving for home.
Organized by the King Car Foundation, the Schweitzer English Teaching Program, which was initiated three years ago, brought people from the US and Canada to Hualien, Nantou and Kinmen County, where they volunteered as English teachers in elementary schools.
According to Morgan Sun (
Yesterday, at the end of the semester, the teachers called the experience of teaching English in rural public schools an amazing privilege.
"It's been a wonderful year for all of us not only to teach English in public schools, but also to have the chance to experience a whole different culture," said Benjamin Jacob, a 23-year-old Virginian and the leader of this year's volunteer team.
As one of six teachers in Hualien County, Jacob had through the years travelled to Taiwan four times to teach English. He said that developing a love for this country and the enthusiasm to teach are important for anyone who wants to become a successful English teacher in Taiwan.
Dedicated to continuing her teaching in Kinmen, Jefferies said that her biggest satisfaction is to see the progress students have been making every day.
"When I first went to Kinmen, kids were shy when they saw us foreigners at school. A year later, they would say hello to me, and I am happy to see how kids are becoming more confident in speaking English," she told the Taipei Times.
Sun said that thanks to these voluntary teachers, who not only teach English in the classroom but also spend time with students and community members after their classes, children in the rural communities are able to learn English in a more vivid and natural way.
Encouraged by the program's success, the foundation is planning to bring more foreigners into the program to benefit more children in rural areas. In addition, the foundation also plans to call on young people in Taiwan to join in the efforts of foreign teachers and teach in rural communities, according to Sun.
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