Steve Gwin is across the world from Logansport and Landis Elementary, where he teaches first grade.
He’s in China, the province of Zhejiang to be exact. And he’s serving as a teacher for a month at the Yongkang Renmin Primary School.
Gwin received this opportunity because of the district’s sister school relationship with the province of Zhejiang. The cities have an exchange program with students and teachers going back and forth, so this was another step.
He also hosted Chinese teachers twice before when they visited Logansport.
“They were very kind people and said more than one time that if I could get to China, they would show me the very best of their country,” Gwin said in an email. “They have kept their word. It’s wonderful and they are very kind to me.”
Rita McLochlin, Landis principal, has been a big advocate for the relationship with Zhejiang and also having Gwin teach there.
“He’s a very positive person and a very outgoing, good teacher,” McLochlin said. “He’s a good ambassador for Logansport.”
Gwin arrived in China June 1 and he’ll be there until June 29. He’s teaching English to different classes within the primary school. He said the classes average about 60 students and the students are eager to learn another language.
“These students seem to be starved for information about America and new words and phrases that they can learn,” Gwin said. “Walking around the grounds of the school, I am stopped frequently by students wanting to practice their English.”
According to McLochlin, Gwin has an “open and fun classroom” at Landis. He said the classes in the Chinese school are structured as group learning instead of what he’s used to with individualized attention on students.
“They accept [my teaching style] well and the teachers are happy with the change,” Gwin said. “But, I am a special situation. They couldn’t have their kids up moving and being loud like this every day or nothing would get done.”