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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Final post--International Public Relations

It's amazing how big a difference class size can make on the teaching experience.

In December I had 15 students. I enjoyed everything about this, especially getting to know each of them as individuals.

With an official class roster of 122 students—on average 30 attended each class—this time was very different. While I had about 12 students who would regularly engage me before, during and after class—which I enjoyed very much—I couldn't tell you their names or what their personalities are like. I missed this aspect of teaching this second time.

Thank goodness for Jessie, my TA. Pictured together at our last class, Jessie and I worked together and played together.

Getting to know Jessie during these three very short weeks made this class for me on both a professional and personal level. She added tremendous value to the class with her development and delivery of a crisis communications case study on KFC, taken from a paper she had written. She also increased the winning groups' blog contribution by revising, rewriting and finding photos to supplement the culture blog postings. And, she graded all the T/F, multiple guess questions on both exams while I did the essays.

But, more importantly, Jessie and I became friends. She took me on special "foodie" adventures where I could discover taste treats I would never had found on my own. She gave me new insights through our discussions on culture—Chinese and American differences and similarities—and how we can all better communicate together. She gave me several new ideas for potential research during my doctorate program. More than anything else, Jessie was and is my friend.

It was so painfully difficult to see her descend the stairs in my faculty housing apartment and disappear out of sight on my last full day in Wuhan. But, through the magic of email and the belief that I will return to China I know that Jessie and Tyler will remain friends no matter where in the world we are.


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