With so many budget cuts to American schools, one way to get a quality Chinese language teacher is through Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) overseas teacher exchange program. Spearheaded and subsidized by the MOE, selected teachers are offered a monthly stipend of US$1,200 for up to two years and their international university partner provides matching funds for the teachers’ remaining salary and benefits.
In addition to salary assistance, the MOE also offers the teachers a round-trip international airfare and US$300 teaching material subsidy. The program is a win-win for all parties involved, giving Chinese language teachers a chance to broaden their teaching experience and also allowing American schools an opportunity to continue offering Chinese language classes in an atmosphere of huge budget cuts to schools. Additionally, the selected overseas Chinese teachers play a crucial role in the promotion of Taiwan’s Chinese education in the world.
One such teacher is Lee I-chia. A graduate of Taiwan Normal University, she was recruited by the East Asian Language and Cultures Department at the University of California at Davis last year. As a visiting lecturer, Lee was assigned to teach two to three courses per quarter. In each of her courses, she was passionate about enhancing her students’ language proficiency as well as equipping them with in-depth knowledge of Chinese culture and society.
Inside and outside of the classroom, Lee kept boosting her students’ confidence by encouraging them to use Chinese as much as possible. With her patient one-on-one guidance in script writing and speaking, this past April, six of her students won prizes at the San Francisco Bay Area’s 38th Mandarin Speech Contest organized by the Chinese Language Teachers Association of California. While at Davis, she also became actively involved with campus activities, helping to coordinate the UC Davis Chinese Student Day and its long list of activities.
Impressed with Lee’s efforts to interest her students in Chinese language education, Davis was pleased to renew her teaching contract for the upcoming 2013 school year.