First, let me tell you what I am doing here at SIAS University. Primarily, I am a teacher with three-hundred students. My subjects are Corporate Finance and International Trade. The range of the students English proficiency covers a broad span, so these already difficult courses are exceptionally challenging. I am stretched!
Also, I am tutored in Mandarin Chinese by a Chinese faculty member for two hours once a week. I bolster the tutoring by studying with Rosetta Stone seven days a week. Surprisingly, reading and interpreting the Pinyin (Chinese Phonetics) has come to me easier and quicker than expected. However, speaking -- without the written pinyin to lean on -- is a much more difficult task.
At the beginning of my classes I proudly practice my second language phrases on my students. A familiar pattern has developed. First, they look very puzzled. Then, once they decipher my pathetic use of the four tones, they begin to giggle and laugh. Sometimes, if it's really bad, they laugh hysterically! I respond, "Sank you bery much!" It's my touche (The Chinese find it difficult to articulate "th" and "v" sounds of the English language).
Outside the classroom I engage with many students. At there request, I have taken pictures of hundreds of them. Being generous with my time, and listening as they practice English on me, opens opportunities to build relationships. They love it. I love them.
On Wednesday nights I meet with a group of twenty (and growing) male students for two hours. They treat me like a rock star and hang on my every word. They want to learn how to be leaders. Our tech guys in the mix have already designed a website (that you will soon be able to access)It's humbling. At our first meeting the guys wanted to come up with a name for our group. Here are a few they suggested: Iron men, Spider men, Karate Men, Natural Men, Super Men, X Men, and more! After a bit of discussion and explanation they understood that those names probably would not work.
We decided on SIAS Servant Leaders Group.