Brenda Hsu

Attending the 2017 Virginia Startalk Chinese Teacher Academy made this summer one of the most memorable summers of my life. During this five-week program, I learned the Startalk-endorsed prinicples for effective teaching and learning, methodology for teaching foreign languages, technology for online teaching and had the opportunity to teach a group of highly-motivated students. I really appreciated the group lesson planning time with other participants. I have always been the only Mandarin teacher at my school, so I have never had the experience of collaborating with other Mandarin Chinese teachers so closely. I also liked the co-teaching part of practicum. I taught on the even dates and observed on the odd dates. This practice of being the observer one day and being the teacher on the other day helped me to be able to adjust my lesson to fit the students’ needs. After long hours of working together, the twelve participants had a tight bond at the end of the program. I also liked that Dr. Tseng brought in the idea of mindfulness.  Teaching is a very demanding job and all teachers need to learn how to balance life and work. Through those mindfulness practices, we learned to reflect and take care of ourselves. I loved the spiritual growth brought by the program. Overall, this was a very extraordinary program and I am so grateful that I was part of 2017 Virginia STARTALK Chinese Teacher Academy.