Creating the China Teaching Program

In the early days of China being open to foreign travelers and visitors I would often note that young American backpackers were being hired to teach English in the schools and universities of China.  A number of years prior I had been the director of an English language program in Colombia and I knew that not everyone who could speak English could teach it which gave me an idea.

As Chair of the Center for East Asian Studies at Western Washington University I felt we could open a class of instruction for students wanting to teach English in China.  They would be better prepared than any random tourist hired off the street in China.  To test the water to find out the interest in the wider community for such a class I ran a small 4” ad one time only in the Christian Science Monitor newspaper stating “Wanted:  Young professionals of any age interested in teaching English to co-professionals in the People’s Republic of China.” 

Much to my astonishment I received over 400 responses the first week from all over the nation.  This obviously warranted something more than one small class on the subject.  It warranted a major program.  With permission from our Academic Vice President at WWU I discussed this matter with Dennis Braddock, a friend who was a member of the state legislature.  He took the idea to Olympia where it was well received and we very quickly had the money to start the program.

Over the years of its existence we sent over 1,000 teachers to the PRC to teach English.