Nai Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi Nai! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. To start off, can you tell your students a little bit about yourself?
A. Hello everyone, I am Nai. I am from Taichung, Taiwan, and I currently live in Hualien. I studied Chinese in university, and multicultural education in graduate school. I used to work as an editor for books and websites, but I currently work as a Chinese language teacher at a university and online. I am rejoiced to be able to interact with all of you on Cafetalk. I look forward to meeting you.
- Q. Can you tell us what got you into teaching, and what motivated you to keep pursuing this career?
A. I started teaching Chinese when I befriended a Japanese person online. He spoke fluent Chinese, so we would do a language exchange and ask each other questions. When he asked me about reading a Chinese novel, I tried to figure out how to explain Chinese sentences and paragraphs so that he could understand how interesting the novel was. The process was so fascinating that I started to consider becoming a Taiwanese-Chinese language teacher at that time, and after attending a Chinese teacher training course at the National Taiwan Normal University in 2017, I started teaching Taiwanese-Chinese as a profession that year.
Working at a university-affiliated language school, I had the opportunity to teach students from as many as 17 different nationalities and experienced a variety of teaching formats, including one-on-one lesson, group lessons, and calligraphy lessons. With the development and expansion of online lessons over the past few years, I have been interested in learning how to teach online and have conducted online lessons as well.
In the course of teaching, I have met students from various countries, ages, professions, and learning goals. A wealth of treasure is hidden in the world of Chinese pronunciation, Chinese characters, vocabulary, grammar, and wordings that cannot be fully explored. I find it very interesting! I feel motivated to further expand my perspective through training and education.
- Q. Have you always been a teacher? If not, what else have you been doing professionally? If yes, what are some highlights of your teaching career?
A. Before becoming a Chinese language teacher, I worked as an editor. During my eight years as an editor, I saw the slight differences in characters and words, and the differences in meaning and sensations that can barely be recognized through reading. I also became more perceptive of languages and read longer texts more carefully and patiently. However, as was my habit when I was an editor, even when I was just reading a book for pleasure, typos and odd passages would catch my attention, and I would inadvertently start proofreading. lol
My experience as an editor has been very useful in the classroom. The goal of an editor’s job is to make the text easy to read, easy to understand, and to help the reader understand the content as well as feel the joy of reading. The same is true in the classroom; students need to understand the content and learn the skills in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
- Q. What do you do when you are not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your interests?
A. I generally enjoy reading books, including novels, essays, and magazines. I mostly read works by Taiwanese authors, but I occasionally read translated works from other countries, such as Japan, the UK, as well as the US. I also enjoy watching TV dramas and listening to trendy music. Since I am studying Japanese, I especially watch a lot of Japanese dramas to maintain my interest and understanding of the Japanese language. During my days off, I enjoy exploring Hualien with my family. We take walks along the seaside at Qixingtan or climb mountains. Once the pandemic subsides, I would like to travel to other countries (such as Japan) and experience different cultures and lifestyles through learning languages.
- Q. Many students are interested in the atmosphere of your lessons. What kind of results can students expect from your lessons? Can you tell us more about your lesson style?
A. I like to spend the first few minutes of my lessons chatting with students about their daily lives. We use Chinese to talk about our daily lives, feelings, and opinions. During the lesson, I build my students’ vocabulary through terms, grammar, and sentences from textbooks, or by using the daily news, specific topics, novels, and so on. By proceeding in a conversational style, I encourage students to interact more often. I create opportunities for students to communicate using Chinese and to develop listening, reading, and speaking skills.
My goal is to create a relaxed and pleasant learning atmosphere where my students don’t need to worry about making mistakes, with the goal of “improving language skills and incorporating new knowledge, all while simultaneously engaging in conversation as if chatting with a friend.
- Q. Lastly, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?
A. Thank you so much for always taking my lessons attentively, as well as for being friendly and kind to me; And to my future students, I hope that we can study Taiwanese-Chinese together, and learn about the diverse culture of Taiwan. Lastly, I wish you all the joy and satisfaction that comes as you explore a new world through learning languages!