By XuYang (Christie) Zhao
Matt Muller, my teacher of English and American literature, is the first American teacher I have become acquainted with in my college. He has been in Xiangnan University, Hunan Province, China for nearly one year. Now as the final exam is impending, he is about to leave. I intend to write an article to express my viewpoint about the distinctive features of this American teacher both in academic and in personal aspects. Here is the article. A student’s perspective
By XuYang (Christie) Zhao
Matt Muller, my teacher of English and American literature, is the first American teacher I have become acquainted with in my college. He has been in Xiangnan University, Hunan Province, China for nearly one year. Now as the final exam is impending, he is about to leave. I intend to write an article to express my viewpoint about the distinctive features of this American teacher both in academic and in personal aspects. Here is the article.
Matt Muller with his English class students at Book Club at Xiangnan University
Academically, this American teacher is indeed a super Hollywood actor. During our first class, his phone rang, “Oh, Mr. Obama …”he said. As we heard this, all of us kept silent instantly, wanting to know whether we heard him wrong. “Yes, I am now in Xinangnan University, China, and I’ll get to know Chinese students better to give feedback to you…” he continued. This time, we all chuckled and we knew it was just a joke. However, Matt was a conscientious and responsible actor. He continued his performance, regardless of our laughter. “But Mr. Obama, can we talk next time? Because now I am giving class…”After he hung up, he explained to us seriously that he was sent by the President to teach Chinese students. This time, he had us rolling in the aisles successfully.
Apart from this, this American teacher treats teaching seriously. He planned the schedule ahead of time and assumed great responsibility. At the beginning of the fall semester, he distributed us a syllabus in which the content of each class during the two semesters is disclosed and some details about the final exam such as what percentage our attendance and homework will occupy and what will be tested in final exam were revealed. It is very arresting and interesting. To be honest, it was our first time to have received a concrete schedule of a teacher about his teaching plan. And this syllabus helped us prepare [for] the class better.
Unfortunately, for some reason, he was no longer our literature teacher during spring semester. Since some of us are fans of his and we asked him to continue the journey of literature, he opened a small study club for free, by which he still gives classes to those who are interested. It is from this study club that we go though literature giants such as Chaucer, Shakespeare and appreciated some masterpieces, such as Hamlet, Paradise Lost, and 1984. In a word, he was so responsible and helped us pave the way to literature learning.
Personally, this American teacher also has his own hallmark. He is very afraid of death. In a barbecue held by our study club last Sunday, the chair he was sitting in broke and he fell down to the ground immediately (which we still feel sorry for him). After we dragged him up, he said “I thought I would die.” It shocked us. For Chinese people, it is hardly possible for us to connect death with such a little accident. Then, Matt told us that several days before when he was climbing a very deep mountain alone; he also thought he was going to die.
Then, this “cowardly” America teacher is athletic. He has become famous in our university for his jogging around the whole campus. He wears shorts in cold weather to go running, leaving those students in sweaters regarding him as an icon. And once, he asked whether I can help him make an arrangement with the local fitness club, from which I knew he is a big Yoga fan.
I am not sure whether Matt is representative of all American teachers, but it does not matter. At least, they must share something in common. We thank him for bringing us new teaching methods, different beliefs and a different living style. He demonstrated that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Actually, with the globalization, American education and lifestyle has been gradually commingled with our local customs, which I think is a good thing by providing Chinese students new things to observe and appreciate. I hope this compatible development will continue and more American teachers come to China, and thereby contribute to a more harmonious Chinese education system.
XuYang (Christie) Zhao, a college student in Xiangnan University, Hunan Province, China, is fascinated by English. She is a junior now and intends to pursue postgraduate study in America. Moreover, her career goal is to be an excellent English teacher.