Why I Became a Voluntary Teacher
This blog serves the purpose of both documenting why I chose to quit a job many envy and go for my childhood dream: voluntary teaching (VT).
One day, one of my Cornell friends came to HK to see me, but the night before I just couldn’t sleep. A small part is because of his coming, but mostly the insomnia is due to my unhappiness: I did not obtain enough sense of achievement from my previous day’s work, and I couldn’t sleep while I don’t think I achieved much during the day. So I just kept watching films and YouTube to waste time till about 6 a.m. in the morning. I reflected on myself: what is the most interesting thing I want to do now? After a short while, I exclaimed to myself: VT! It’s always been my dream since high school, and I almost forgot about it after a year’s daily scrums! Then, I instantly applied for the opportunity for VT in fall 2019, and went to sleep for a while, before he came to me and we went out to hang out.
I feel tired of explaining this to so many people asking me about the purpose of coming to VT, so here they are:
- I want to experience a life different from school or work, to rest and reflect on my future life
- I lack patience when explaining stuff to people, and I want to overcome that shortcoming
- I want to hone my teaching skills which will come handy in the future when I deal with kids (probably my own)
- I want to instill in the kids the thought to grow stronger, go out and explore the world. The second sentence from The Great Gatsby says, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.’” There are children starving and suffering from diseases, or growing up without parents’ care, etc. Just because we do not meet them everyday does not mean we can take advantage of our lucky vantage point and not help them.
- I AM a selfish man and don’t want to pretend to be nice/good/elegant/esteemed. I want to do VT because it brings me happiness. Also, I never think it's wrong to be selfish.
And here I am in Guizhou, a beautiful province famous for Maotai (茅台，a famous Chinese white wine), FAST (中国天眼，largest radio telescope on earth), and Huangguoshu (or literally translated to: yellow fruit tree) Waterfall（黄果树瀑布）, but insular due to its mountains. The government has increasingly invested in such poor areas in recent years, and the schools here have beautiful buildings and playgrounds, but they lack good teachers due to poor transportation, and that’s where I come in.
The next blog talks about my experience as a voluntary teacher.