Wednesday, November 17, 2004
DALLAS -- Bo Huang has been teaching English for 14 years at one of the best high schools in China. Three months ago, she got on a plane in China and flew thousands of miles to Oregon.
She left behind her familiar lifestyle and an 8-year-old son.
Now she's in Dallas at Whitworth Elementary. Every day learning about a foreign culture. Every day teaching others about life in China.
She works in Theresa Lehman's class. She helps prepare lessons, monitor the children, and shares her culture through small and large gestures.
"This is a very, very good chance for me...I can share my culture with the students and teachers here...and I can improve my English," Huang said.
She created a name tree, where students have hung their names in English and Chinese, and taught them to sing "happy birthday" in Chinese.
She lives with a host family, Don and Edith Perry. Edith is a retired teacher. They have a great deal in common. Huang said that having a family to live with eases the homesickness she feels.
"My host family has helped me with life here and my studies...they are very, very good...this is a very precious opportunity," Huang said.
Weekly, she speaks with her son via streaming video. This also eases the home-pains. He is doing well. She misses him. But they are both busy during the week, which makes the days pass quickly.
In seven months she will return home. She'll hug her son for the first time in 10 months. She'll return to her students, the teenagers in Sichuan Province.
She'll go back to her own lesson plans and her own routines. She'll ease back, through the inevitable reverse culture shock, to a life she's always known.
Until the day, until that moment she steps foot on Chinese soil, she is a student.
A student of rural American culture. A student of life's similarities and disparities. A student wrestling with a clumsy language that makes her tongue feel thick.
And she is a teacher, one willing to patiently carry her lessons to both sides of the ocean.