Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Georgetown man has adventure of lifetime teaching English in China
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 17 Jan 2007, p. 23

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I didn't believe that it actually existed, until we dropped out of the fog, and onto the tarmac of Shanghai's Pu Dong Airport. Still groggy from the 19-hour flight, I stumbled off the plane, and wandered around until I found my bags. I wasn't too sure where to go next, so I stared out the window for a few minutes. I saw cars that I had never seen before, street signs that defied pronunciation, and a city that looked totally alien...only I was the alien. Confused, and disoriented, I turned away from the window. "What am I doing in China?" I asked myself, even though I knew the answer. I was there to teach English as a second language at a school six hours southwest of Shanghai. Having been a student at Georgetown District High School just a few years before, I had never pictured myself being in this position. Shaking myself back to reality, I ventured through the crowd until I found some people from the school who had been sent to pick me up-- two teachers, and an off-duty police officer, who was also our chauffeur for the night. After our introductions, we piled into their tiny car, and headed out of the Shanghai lights toward the small town of Changzhou. Six hours later, we pulled into the gates of the school, and after they showed me my apartment, I decided to wander around the campus. As I walked into a courtyard surrounded by three large buildings, I heard students shouting. Curious, I looked up to see approximately 600 Georgetown native Robert McKinnon rejoices in his experistudents hanging out of the ence on the Great Wall of China during a teaching trip to the windows, all excited about country. something that I was quite doorway to get into the classroom which was oblivious to. Now, with their shouts almost deafening, I filled with 55 students who were just as stood still with a confused look on my face. It awestruck as I was. Fighting back nervousness, I took me a minute to realize that they were all star- joined the headmaster at the front of the class. ing at me-- their new foreign teacher. Even After he introduced me, he left me on my own to though I felt like a rock star, I didn't want to dis- start the day's lesson. As the weeks passed, my nervousness disaprupt their classes, so I left. I was later introduced to the headmaster, who peared, and the days became easier. The students introduced me to my first class. As he led me were eager to learn, and held onto every one of down a hallway, he explained to me that the stu- my words. Although it would be impossible to describe dents already had a basic knowledge of English...my job was just to expand that knowl- the entire experience, I would recommend it to anyone who is restless, or looking for a life-changedge. At over six feet, I had to duck through the low ing journey.

McKinnon, Robert
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17 Jan 2007
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McKinnon, Robert
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Georgetown man has adventure of lifetime teaching English in China