My background in Travels, Teaching and Taoism
“The More You Understand, the More You See”
Yien-Koo King (Tai Ji practitioner) quote from her father.
While I would prefer not to talk about myself, the history teacher in me understands that background information is vital for readers to develop an understanding of authors. It’s as if you and I are beginning a conversation which could last the length of this sentence/article/indefinite period of time. I’ve been teaching history in private high schools since 1986. Teaching students how to write research papers has been an important part of my classes over the years and one of the key things to teach students is that every source they use has an author who, unintentionally or intentionally, has injected their own bias into the article/document. The real skill of any thoughtful person is not to reject some author wholesale because they have a bias, but to understand his/her point of view. Then factor that in when trying to “see” a historical event or person a bit more clearly.
So, this introduction is really an insight into my biases or beliefs. If they have some interest to you, then we can have a conversation. Possibly one that carries on for a while.
As mentioned above, I’ve been teaching history to high school students in private schools for over three decades. During that time I’ve lived/taught in: Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, and back to New Jersey. My love of history has compelled me to travel all over the globe including trips to: South Africa, Kenya, England, France, Spain and China. I’ve taught European and United States history courses throughout my career. Moving to New Jersey in 1989, I began teaching Chinese and Japanese history courses. Since then I’ve traveled to China over 12 times(visiting various parts of the country), developed some facility with Mandarin and discovered the Chinese religion of Taoism. I’ll write more about Taoism in future posts but it’s become an important part of my life since first traveling to China in 2007. Since then I’ve traveled to China every year. Sometimes I’ve brought students on cultural tours to places like: Beijing, Datong, Xian, Hangzhou, Huangshan, Chengdu. Sometimes I’ve gone alone to pursue my informal or formal studies of Taoism. In 2013 I was invited to attend a two week seminar for International Students of Taoism by the Chinese Taoist Association. During that seminar I formally became a student of Master Meng Zhiling. Master Meng is Vice-President of the CTA and head of the Taoist College in Beijing.
After 26 years at the same school I’ve decided to take a year leave of absence and go live in China for a semester while furthering my Mandarin studies and working more closely with Master Meng. I’ll be leaving for Beijing in late August and look forward to writing about life in China for such an extended period of time.
So, there you are! We’ve met. I look forward to resuming our conversation soon. I’m just starting up my blog so please bear with me while I sort out some more aspects of it. Best Wishes.