I started out in Russian Studies, then went on to Chinese. After graduation from Princeton I sailed away to Taiwan on a freighter. There I studied the language and culture and taught English, too. I stayed there eight years altogether. Then there was a year teaching at a private school--French and German. In the years that followed I drifted into consulting and took on the job of simultaneous interpreter and trouble-shooter for the State Department's program hosting Chinese visitors and showing them America.
At the same time I had never given up my first love, study, research, and most importantly teaching. I ran a Chinese Program in Denver for five years and taught in situations ranging from the Taiwan campus of the California State Colleges system (Chinese thought, history, and literature)to the University of Maryland's overseas campus (Chinese History), to National Taiwan University (research methods, all in Chinese), to two 4-month semesters on World Campus Afloat, through Africa, Asia, South America, and the Mediterranean (teaching topics as diverse as Introduction to Ethics, Tolstoi and Gandhi seminar, and comparative Chinese and Japanese novels. It was during that decade that I published some articles and a major book on a Chinese thinker and also acted as editor for China-on-Line out of Chicago. History, thought, and literature have been my "fields".
At this point in life with both my children now out of college and pursuing careers of their own, I can be free to go back to teaching. It is ever fascinating to see how young people develop and how most of them at least overcome barriers and challenges. Of course a teacher never sees the eventual product he or she has helped to shape, but perhaps it is just because this so that teaching has such an attraction to some people.
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