Teaching in Asia Profile: Ben Ivory

Name: Benjamin Ivory, SJU Alum '07
School: Southwest Univeristy, Rongchang Campus
City, Country: Rongchang, China
Major/Minor: English Literature/Spanish

Email: [email protected]

How did you decide to teach in Asia? The opportunity to learn another foreign language, to see another massive part of humanity wholly different from ours, and to get some experience in education.

How is your program designed (how often do you teach, living arrangements, what is your daily schedule)? I teach 12 periods 40 minutes each.  They are not having me work a full schedule.  I live in an apartment a block from where I teach.  Four out of five days I have one 90 minute period at 7:30 pm.  Friday and Saturday I have two 90 minute periods, one at 2:30, and one at 4:10.  The work load is not very demanding--I've asked for more work.  So I have plenty of time to read and (if I can muster up some motivation) to study Chinese.

Describe a memorable experience in the classroom: I had my students talk about a day or time that changed their lives.  Most had really heart-wrenching stories about family members and their health, or the struggle to make their parents proud and pass the national examinations to get into a decent school.  It was an incredibly powerful class period that had most of the class including me on the verge of tears.

What advice do you have for students who are considering teaching in Asia? What should underclassmen be doing now to prepare for a career in Asia? Learn Chinese.  It's hard enough when you come here with no knowledge of the language.  I'm in a place where the dialect is different (I've been told there are over 50 dialect here) so it's difficult to learn the standard dialect unless I hound my students for lessons.  Most are more than willing though.  Think about being able to communicate to almost a sixth of the population fo the world though.  Business opportunities?