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Monday, March 06, 2006

Meet Jessie, my TA!

Jessie is a petite young dynamo with a fast mind and good English skills. She will graduate in June with a business major and is fascinated with a subject near and dear to my heart: Marketing! In fact, over the Spring Festival Holiday (5 weeks during the Chinese lunar New Year that ended 3 weeks ago) she convinced her parents that she should go to America to get a graduate degree in marketing.

The parents she had to convince of her desire hold very important jobs in China. Her mother is a surgeon and her father works in the government as the manager of human resources at the hospital. The town where they live and Jessie grew up she terms as a 'small' town (1.3 million, roughly the same as Portland). It's 3 hours' ride by bus from Wuhan, so it's also in Hubei Province.

I'm very honored and pleased to have Jessie as my TA. The evening of my arrival, Thursday, is when the International Education School found her, after asking supervisors and teachers for ideas on someone who would be a good match and help me with this big class. So, the fact that I met her Friday morning is truly 'real-time' (JIT at its best) and totally within context of how quickly things change and happen here.

During our first meeting on Friday she shared with me a fact that got me very excited. Jessie had written a paper—alas in Chinese—about the public relations crisis KFC experienced last year here in China with some sort of disastrous food problem. I thought to myself, how perfect is this!?!

I had been struggling at home to figure out how to get a Chinese-based crisis to show my students an example that they could relate to when I cover that area of the text. I have tried very hard to balance Chinese and American examples so they are 50/50. The textbook I have (and it's the one I use in the US) was written for an American audience, not an international one.

During this first meeting I suggested we get together and she could share this with me; perhaps she would consider creating a Case Study to share with the students. She agreed.

On Monday morning she joined me in my office at my apartment and I said we should discuss how she could help me, and how I could help her. Or as she put it, "it's a win/win". She has some key American idioms down!

We decided how we will help each other and I'm looking forward to sharing more about the outcomes of our ongoing relationship during these three very short weeks we have together.


At 7:44 AM, Skip said...

Cody the TA here at the Ranch, will be returning around 5PM. It is doubtful, he will be quite as helpful, or cheerful. Skip


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