A rainy day to start off my second week. It’s been raining a lot here, so I’m used to that part, just wish I had packed some type of waterproof shoe!
So how did the first week go? I’ll let you decide.
I taught two classes, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering I had to create all my own content/PowerPoints for almost 5.5 hours of lecturing, it was overwhelming. Or, I let it become overwhelming because I was thinking about ALL the lectures I had to create for the next 2 months, instead of just focusing on one day at a time. I’m getting a little better at that last part.
My second lunch on campus (pictured here) was better than the first, when I inadvertently ordered “the hardest” thing to eat with chopsticks: a pig’s foot.
The first class was the Introduction to Intensive Care Nursing. Almost 3 hours of me talking to a class of 7 Chinese nursing students. Nevermind the fact that heat is not a standard function of many classrooms, including mine, but also the fact that the students were scared to talk, made for a very interesting first day. The girls all sat in 2 rows of the classroom, of course, toward the back. I had a podium, microphone, and projector to display my very laborious PPT. I thought, hey, why not throw an “icebreaker” in my slides to get my students talking.
“What kind of ICU do you think you want to work in?” SILENCE.
“Have you or a family member ever been a patient in the hospital?” NOTHING.
“What are you most interested to learn about in this class?” I think I heard a pin drop.
The students whispered amongst themselves, while I read each question, and waited for them to respond. So this was how this was going to go…
I started in on my lecture, and Grace, the main instructor who was observing, asked me to slow down my speaking. I then realized that I was going to have to explain a lot of vocabulary in my slides. This was nursing level material, but more for native-English speakers. I was, perhaps, over zealous in my preparation. I ended up skipping some slides, because I felt it was too much information, or that it would go over their heads, and also, because of my slowed speaking, I would run out of time.
I occasionally got a head nod from a couple of the girls. I think one girl may have been sleeping, but she was conveniently sitting behind another girl, so I couldn’t really tell. I know there was texting going on, and whispering here and there. I would not say I had great control of my class, but I found it really hard to say something. I felt like I was just up there trying to profess my love for critical care nursing, and the students could care less.
But then, I had a pivotal moment. A slide came up that showed a picture of a bedside patient monitor. The photo displays the ECG, heart rate, oxygen saturation, CVP, eTCO2 and a blood pressure. I was explaining that I could tell a lot about the patient just by looking at the monitor, and then I asked a question about the heart rate. I said, “Is this normal or not normal?” The girls quickly started whispering amongst themselves, and then one girl finally said, “Not normal.” Eureka! I had broken through this wall between us. And then, I figured, why not ask a second question…. “What is the normal range for heart rate?” And you know what, they answered again! (And for those of you non-medical people reading, the heart rate is the green number (115) at the top right of the monitor, & the answer is 60-110 beats per minute-for an adult).
My second class for Global Health was on the “Healthcare System in America”. This was a bigger classroom (WITH HEAT!) and about 75 students. The class was supposed to be 80 minutes, and I thought I had enough material, but ended up finishing about 25 minutes early. Whoops. The main instructor for that class, RongRong, was kind enough to ask me a few questions, as well as one student out of the whole group. But this one student was asking about health insurance coverage for her grandmother, and asking if she could pay more money to get her some extra health insurance. And basically, the grandmother was denied coverage here in China. And that broke my heart. I know our American health insurance situation isn’t all that great. I mean, I don’t have health insurance back home at the moment, because why pay for something I’m not going to be able to use? It’s not like it would cover me in China….but don’t worry, we do have travel medical insurance. But the fact that this girl wanted to be able to get insurance for her grandmother, and just wanted to “pay more money” for it, and couldn’t, it was just sad. I mean, at least in the US we insure our elderly. But anyways, I could write a lot more about that, but won’t.
So, even though I may have had too many slides for the first class, not enough for the second, had to slow my speaking, and didn’t really think I was getting anywhere with my students, I eventually got through to them. I think this is the part of teaching that I really love.
Until next time,