But do you really speak English?

As I (JM) left Chinese class a week ago, someone handed out flyers advertising a chance to teach English part-time over the summer.  It sounded interesting, so I followed up and arranged a meeting with them.  It’s a ten-day English camp for middle schoolers, geared towards preparing a creative performance for the students to put on at end of the camp.

I went to the interview and was very interested by their description of the program, and they seemed to like my resume.  In fact, they offered me a position on the staff team of 10 teachers on the spot.  I was thrilled- my first job in China!  The camp will take place in July.

Walking out of the office I entered the elevator to go back downstairs.  The manager came running out behind me, calling for me to hold the doors.  She got in and accompanied me downstairs.  "My colleague just pointed out to me that I hired you for an English teaching job, but, we didn’t hear you speaking any English!"

It hit me that I had been responding to all of her interview questions in Chinese!  To the best of my ability, I avoided using English, and must have only spoken two or three sentences in total that I didn’t know how to express in Chinese.  Wow!  This semester of study has brought me a lot further than I first realized.

I reassured her, in English, that English speaking is not a problem for me!

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4 Responses to “But do you really speak English?”


  1. 1 Chris Burgwald June 15, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Great story, JM! Congrats on the job and your progress with the language!

  2. 2 Mom June 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    You should have suggested a trip back to the office for more English conversation just to enjoy the luxury of the elevator.

  3. 3 Becca June 16, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    YEAH!!!! That’s so stinkin’ cool! :o) I’m so proud that you are making such progress!

  4. 4 luciesworld June 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    John Micheal,

    Congrats! I knew that you guys would progress in Chinese in a short period of time as you are both so dedicated. Leo looks so great in all of the photos. If I cannot come visit you guys there I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the pics when you and your family come back to the US. Blessings!

    Lucie


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