The Blue-eyed Gardener An American Teacher in China
发布时间: 2014-05-05 浏览次数: 187

The Blue-eyed Gardener  An American Teacher in China
2012级2班 丁乐羽 徐雨 翁诗璐 班美参 王乐韬

     The moment when we saw Jim Fisher, our oral English teacher, on his way to the interview room 408, he was dressing in a light blue T-shirt, black trousers as well as a pair of dark leather shoes. “Hi! Good afternoon. How is everybody?” As Mr. Fisher greeted us with a gentle smile, we could see wisdom and happiness twinkling in his eyes. Slowly but calmly, he drew out a chair next to us, sat down, and faced everyone in a friendly manner.
      Mr. Fisher’s typical enthusiasm immediately reminded us of the sunshine in California, a beautiful place where he came from. He had been living in there as a computer programmer for decades. Last year, he and his wife decided to visit and teach in China. We told Mr. Fisher in Chinese, the word “Gardener” is a metaphor referring to a teacher. To us, he was like a great gardener. Deeply interested by what we said, Mr. Fisher began to share with us his stories…


The Fishers like travelling!
     “My wife wanted to come to China. She loves travelling and teaching as well. She said ‘why don’t we both go to China?’ I said ‘ok!’ Haha. Actually I love to travel also, so we both came. It seems that we have made a great decision!”

Thanks to the CTP program, he has an easy access to teaching in China.
     “In Brigham Young University, they have a program called ‘China Teachers’ Program’, CTP. We joined that program last year when we went to Nanjing. The China Teachers’ Program has 78 teachers in China in 9 different cities. Most of them are American, and some of them are from Canada. There are 8 of us here in Guangzhou.”
What interests him most is being a judge of speech contests.
     “I think the funniest part was being a judge of some speech contests. You know they often have English contests. I have done that several times and that’s always good experience. I am always impressed how well prepared the students are and how hard they try. Their English is not always good. I mean it’s already pretty good. But you can tell that they are really good hard worker.”

Chinese students and American students do have a lot differences.
     “I think Chinese students… most of them are hard working. They work harder than American students and it seems like so. That’s one of the really good things. They seem very eager to learn; however, the negative side can’t also be ignored… It seems that most Chinese students are much too shy, and they don’t ask questions. They don’t volunteer. They don’t create much new things as American students do. Therefore, if those American students can be as hardworking as the Chinese, that will be great. And if Chinese students can become less shy, I think everyone will be better.”

Despite many difficulties at work or in life, he still tries hard to get through.
       “We were not used to the food here at first. It took some time getting used to it. Foods here are mostly too spicy. We don’t have the same things in America, like we have chicken soup, but we never have chicken feet in the soup, which is very common here though. And there are some parts of animals that we don’t use, but you use here. It seems like you eat more things from the ocean or from the lake, which I know, is healthy but we don’t eat those that much.  Fortunately, we can still find something delicious in China, such as Baozi(包子) and dumplings.”
      “And in terms of teaching, there must be a lot of differences between foreign teachers and native ones. Sometimes I am not very sure what you students need and that can be a challenge. I don’t really understand what students truly need and truly want. For example, if I am doing a wrong type of thing, usually the students will not tell me, but I really would like to know whether you need help or you want it more interesting. I wish I could tell something but the students choose to keep silent. So that’s a big challenge at work.”

  For Chinese students who are learning English, he has some useful suggestions.
      “Students need to practice and use as many resources as they can, watching TV, DVDs, listening to the radio… Of course whenever you see foreigners in the streets, you can just go and talk to them. I know there are lots of foreigners on this campus. So if you can talk to them, that always helps. Going to English corners is another good way for language learners.”

As a foreign teacher, he keeps exploring happiness in this unfamiliar country.
      “We have done many interesting things here in China. We have travelled to different cities. We went to western China, where we were able to ride camels. That was very fun. And we have seen the very large Sanxia dam. I think it is the largest one in the world…”

Time elapsed quickly as the interview soon came to an end. What impressed us the most was Mr. Fisher’s earnest attitude as well as his optimistic personality. He puts all his energy to do the things that he has long determined to do, teaching English in China, experiencing different lifestyles, and volunteering all over the world. His considerable experiences are the origin of his perseverance and abilities. We all feel lucky to meet Mr. Fisher during our college years. He is such an inspiring, adorable blue-eyed gardener in China!