EDITOR’S NOTE: Marg Yaroslaski, a professor of communications and leadership at Dodge Community College, is teaching in China for 3 months. She will be writing for the Daily Globe as part of her trip. Here is her first installment.
I have 241 students in China! I will be leaving this week to teach Leadership classes for Fort Hays State University at Sias International University in Xinzheng in the Henen Province of China. I will be teaching five sections of Leadership Behaviors spring semester. Starting this week, I will be living in foreign faculty housing and teaching to 241 English-speaking Chinese students.
Actually, I am already teaching those 241 students because classes started Feb. 27. A delay in my work visa meant I wasn’t able to arrive as originally planned on Feb. 19. Instead I started my five sections online and we hired a substitute to meet with students until I arrive. Then just went into wait mode while my work visa moved slowly through the bureaucratic process.
Friday I got the email – my work visa is on its way and I will be leaving today to start teaching class in person. I will return the end of June and resume my teaching at Dodge City Community College in August.
For those of you who don’t know me I am a full-time professor of communication and leadership at Dodge City Community College. Over a year ago an opportunity came open to teach leadership classes in China. I imagined learning more about world cultures and bringing that knowledge back to my DCCC students and colleagues. I imagined learning more about how to make leadership concepts clear to a variety to students and bringing that back to my DCCC students and colleagues. It was a chance to be a much better teacher that I had to grab.
For this to happen though I needed some huge support. I will be living in China for 3 months. So the first person who had to come on board was my husband Paul. If he wasn’t willing to hold down the fort while I was in China I never could have said yes to this adventure. I asked him if he wanted to come along but instead he offered to stay home and care for our dog and two cats while he continues in his position at DCCC as professor of computer science.
My plan was always to return to DCCC to teach after going to China. I love my job and wasn’t interested in making teaching in China my permanent job. DCCC has a policy that allows faculty who have taught for 7 years to apply for a sabbatical. I told Dr. Harold Nolte about this opportunity and was given his support. Next stop was DCCC board of trustees. After presenting the request at a board meeting and answering their questions, I was given permission by the board to take this leap and say yes to teaching in China. In return they asked me to promise to share what I learn in China not just with my students but with anyone in our service area who wanted to hear about it.
This article is part of honoring that commitment. I will be sending regular articles to the Daily Globe updating you all on my learning. I will be talking about my experiences teaching leadership in China and share with you my observations about the culture. When I return, I will be happy to come talk to clubs and classes to share my experience with you.
For now it is time to get ready for a flight that will take me around 25 hours travel time and will take me 14 hours into the future. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you. The next time you hear from me I will be in Xinzheng, China.