On my ten-year span of teaching in Taiwan
作者 林天德 Tender Lin, Ph.D.
如今回想起我十年來的台灣教學，第一個印像是台灣人民對我溫順有禮有情，學生如此，社會聽眾也如此。上課或演講前，都會替我準備茶水或擦刷黑板，下課或演講後，接送或共用餐點。曾有一班，一聽到我小時喜歡吃芋頭冰，在下節課前就給我一個大驚喜（big surprise）。另有一班為了抓住共桌共餐機會，將班分組，一週一組跟我共餐 (圖三)；甚至不少學生都主動搶先效勞，由家帶來我愛吃的綠豆湯和土產甜點，這些溫馨直到現在仍然甜在心頭。除此之外，班班都有它的謝師餐會或郊遊，我常被邀請參加 (圖四)；第二個印像是台灣學生還是有點被動，通常不會主動對我所講有所評論或發言。雖然還是有幾個人會這樣做，但全班就議題參與討論的機會就較少了。第三個印象是台灣人民謹守本份，大多不會要求過份。雖然學生倦於常在教室上課，偶會對我要求課外教學，但在演講中，從來沒人對我提出或商量講題，都要由我自定。
我另外的一個感受是台灣學術界自私又好利，人事制度短視。幾經周旋，我還是無法找個專任教職，也沒機會自創一片天空，也未能在民間信仰上做些研究，是我在台教學十年的遺憾。回美後，看到二○○四年的立委選戰，投票率才百分之五九，且有案在身與買票候選人均當選，讓我這海外台美人洩氣。每當在電視上看「台灣起動」與「台灣心聲」節目時，我自認要是我人還在台灣，我就來個「台灣收驚」，因台灣人仍處在「重大打擊後壓力症（Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — PTSD）」和「認賊作父」– 即專業上叫斯得哥爾摩症候群 (Stockholm Syndromes)」的夢懨中。
In summer, 1989, I attended a national construction forum in Taiwan (Pic 1, 2nd left 2nd low). Thereafter, I quitted my position at South Carolina Department of Mental Health, and returned back to my home country. There are two reasons behind my decision: one is that government is now running by Taiwanese president; and the other is my wife capable of running my family. At that time, my mission was to carry out assertive/interpersonal skills training and to promote self-confidence in Taiwanese people. In Taiwanese folk saying, I was coming back “to eradicate fear” from people’s mind. This mission was openly expressed to my students and public audiences alike.
The first year, I taught at Tainan Teachers College, and second year, I taught at Taipei Municipal Teachers College. Then I returned to United States, and only went to Taiwan on summer to teach at in-service teaching training classes. I taught both at Taipei Municipal Teachers College and Chengchi University for eight consecutive summers. So in whole ten-year span, in addition to teaching, I also spoke at various schools and institutions (Pic 2). The area I have been to covered full Taiwan and the outlying island such as Penghu and Matsu. Meantime, I published five books, namely, “Live to Win”, “Folks, Leave Yuan and Fate alone”, “Abnormal Psychology”, “Winning for Both of Us”, and “Healing of Mind”.
As I reflect on my ten years teaching in Taiwan, there are three outstanding images popped up in my mind: (1) Taiwanese people are friendly and polite, both students and public audiences alike. Prior to my entering to the podium, they would clean the black board and prepare the drink in advance. Right after my lecture or speech, they would escort me to the office or invited me for a chi-chat snack. Now I still have a sweet memory about a class. This class once learned that I liked a special childhood sweetie – taro ice cream, they immediately run to get it for me prior to our second session. There is another class of some 40 students. They all like to have lunch with me because they like to listen to my talks. To satisfy every body’s needs, they subdivided into five groups. Each group took turn to have lunch with me (Pic 3). There still even more sweet hearted treatments I got. Several girl students brought their homemade special sweets to the class to share with me. On top of all these, each class had its graduation dinner or graduation tour, and I was always invited (Pic 4). (2) Taiwanese people are passive and reserved both students and public audiences alike. They rarely asked questions or made comments. I found it hard to have a group discussion on a topic. (3) Taiwanese people usually do what they are supposed to do. Students showed some courage to ask me changing class routine, but I never received request to discuss a speech topic from the general public. When they invited me, it always led up to me to decide the speech topic.
As to my teaching, I claim I got 100% success rate. I do not have a big mouth, as I did actually see my students’ self-confidence greatly increased, their behaviors dramatically changed, and their spirits highly elevated. They openly complimented my teaching such as saying “I hate I just know you now” or “I never thought or felt like that before”. Some of them even privately showed love and affection to me.
Right from my first year at Tainan Teachers College, I established so-called “Winner Class” (Pic 5). I laid out my theory of self-image building, namely, “5-S Line of Communication”. At first, people questioned the feasibility of “Straight Line of Communication”, but surprisingly just only few years gone by, their doubts disappeared. My students felt “5-S Line of Communication” is very practical, as I used simple line drawing to explain line of communication. I am sure that my students will spread this good news, as they returned back to school teaching. They would introduce my “5-S Line of Communication” to their students. Then, I would achieve my original goal of teaching in Taiwan, i.e., “to eradicate fear” from people’s mind.
In addition to teaching and speech, I also conducted research in Taiwan. The major focus of my research is interpersonal relationship and marriage. Several of my studies got published at Journal of Educational Research and Journal of Educational Resource and Study. There is one thing I still feel regretful now. It is I did not get to do research on folk belief, because I frequently found myself at add with it. For example, I disagreed with my students on “calling back diseased” on one occasion. I could not back up my argument with research evidence. I ended up going to a temple with my students. I paid for a service to call my father back to talk to me. I did feel my father coming back then, and I hope I did crush my students’ beliefs.
Taiwanese academic world is selfish and profit-oriented. Its personnel system is closed and would only employ its own group of people. It is regretful that I was not able to hold a permanent position, to create my own world, and to conduct research in folk belief. In 2004 legislator election, I was disappointed to see voter turnout rate of 59%, and some got elected by buying votes. Whenever I saw the TV programs of “Taiwan Move” and “Taiwan Voice”, I wished to go back to have a program of “Taiwan, No Fear”. I still feel Taiwanese people are in a state of PTSD and Stockholm Syndromes.
Throughout my life in Taiwan, I have been a teacher, speaker, writer, tax payer, and soldier. Right now, I retired in United States, and I got no retirement fund or pension from Taiwan at all. To payback our mother-land nourishment of my life, I think my ten years of teaching there should be more than enough.
圖一 Pic 1圖二 Pic 2
圖三 Pic 3
圖四 Pic 4
圖五 Pic 5
Source from Prof T. Lin’s book, “Life Asks, I Answer (I) 命問我答”, published by Amazon.com. 09/2014
Posted in 05/2016