Alumni Spotlight: Liz Peters
tenth grade english teacher, boston public school system
Yali Middle School, 2012-2014
What was your most valuable takeaway from the fellowship?
No matter the geopolitical state of the world,
it is vitally important (and rewarding) to build meaningful cross cultural relationships.
what makes YCF unique?
The two year commitment can be daunting to most Yale-China Fellows. It certainly was for me. But I can say with certainty that i came to see
the two year time frame as one of the program's greatest assets.
Much of my first year was spent getting my bearings and in my second year, I had time to develop my Mandarin (I arrived with none and left conversationally proficient!), hone my curriculum building and teaching practice and most importantly, deepen my relationships with other Yale-China Fellows, local teachers and friends. When I left Changsha,
I felt truly accomplished and proud of myself as a teacher, a language learner and a member of the Yali school community; I don't know if I could have gotten to that point in one year.
Do you see the YCF in your life today? If yes, how so?
The Yale-China Fellowship had an enormous impact on my life.
Four years later, I am still a teacher of sixteen year olds, and the the fundamentals I learned about teaching during my time at Yali influence my daily teaching practice here in America.
What would you say to yale students nervous about teaching for the first time?
It's totally normal and okay to be nervous about teaching--teaching is inherently nervewracking. But
you are not alone!
Remember that Yale-China is an amazing resource and a fount of teaching knowledge; don't be shy to get help from other fellows at your site and around China. And the big upside to being a teacher in a Chinese school is that it is not just a job--
the position also drops you into and makes you PART OF an incredible local community.
Aside from teaching, how did you spend your time for the two years in changsha?
Each year, Yale-china Fellows work for months with Yali students to perform a full length musical--ours were Aladdin and High School Musical.
I cried (hard) each year at the end of the final performance, because I was so proud of the work my students had done and was so happy to see their work paying off so beautifully.
I still can't hear "A Whole New World" without getting a little misty.
Why would you recommend this experience to another Yale student/alumnus?
My Yale-China Fellowship has shaped the way I learn, the way I teach and the way I view the world.
The friendships I made while living in Changsha remain some of the most important relationships in my life.