A teacher from Taiwan is both teaching and taking classes at The University of Scranton. Percy Liu, who is 29 years old, was appointed as a Mandarin instructor through the Taiwan Ministry of Education.
Liu said that she enjoys teaching her Chinese classes at The University because of the dedication of the students who enroll.
“Last year I had six, this year I have three. These are advanced students, so they really know what they are doing. So I can ask them to do anything. They are awesome,” Liu said.
Liu said that she tries her best to get her students to speak fluently in the language by bringing exchange students who speak Chinese into the classroom.
“I really want my students to have good communication skills. I want them to be able to talk to the natives. So I bring Taiwanese exchange students into the class at least once a month,” Liu said.
The classes she teaches at The University are not her only ones. She also works with children from pre-K to 8th grade at Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School in Scranton.
Liu said that teaching children that young is a challenge.
“Three- and four-year-olds are hard to teach. They don’t understand what we are doing sometimes, even in English. They are just having fun,” Liu said.
While teaching children that young may be tough, Liu said she is amazed by their ability to pick up an entirely new language.
“They have very good memories and their pronunciation is amazing. They remember so quickly. They probably don’t understand, but they can produce,” Liu said.
Liu has taught Chinese to children overseas as well. She taught Chinese to children on the island nation of Palau for two years.
Liu said the students in Palau are very different from the students at The University.
“Here, I’m teaching advanced Chinese, so many of my students are advanced and know why they want to study Chinese. So whenever I assign homework they do it. In Palau, they are more laid back. On Fridays, they might decide to skip class and go swimming instead,” Liu said.
Liu said that students from her homeland of Taiwan are very different from American students as well.
“Here, students like to express themselves. They often raise their hand and love to ask questions,” Liu said.
Liu said that in Taiwan, students have a very different approach to the way they act in the classroom.
“In Taiwan, teachers tell us what to do. We don’t ask questions. When we do have questions, we ask after class. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves. The learning style is very different,” Liu said.
Since Liu has spent so much time away from home while she is teaching, she said that she misses many aspects of Taiwanese culture, such as nightlife and her family.
Liu said that nighttime activities are much easier to find in Taiwan.
“We have a night market that opens every night. You can buy clothes, shoes and food. You can play games or get a facial or a massage. We have karaoke, 24-hour movie theaters and book stores. We have a wonderful nightlife,” Liu said.
Liu also said that she misses her family most of all, but since she has been overseas for so long, they are used to her traveling around. Even with all of her traveling and teaching, she still keeps in close contact with loved ones.
“We Skype every week, so I can keep in touch and know what’s happening in the house,” Liu said.
She said she will be seeing her family in person instead of over Skype very soon.
“They are coming to the U.S. in August,” Liu said.