Pei-Ying Gosselin, a new Chinese teacher at Archer school, spoke to this reporter on Thursday, Sept. 19. She talked about a trip to she took a few summers ago that changed the way she teaches and interacts with people as a whole.
In 2009, Gosselin traveled to India to work with the Missionaries of Charity organization at the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center. The center, a hospice, or a home for the terminally ill, is a place where many people from around the world volunteer. There Gosselin worked closely with one woman, caring for her every need. She talked about how she could tell everything the woman needed just by making eye contact with her.
“I would ask her questions, though apparently she couldn’t understand them. But, you can tell through the eyes. I would ask ‘oh do you think this is comfortable?’ And then you can tell, from her eyes that even if she doesn’t understand my English. Her eyes would say, ‘Yes, that’s comfortable. Or no, that’s painful,’” Gosselin explained. She stated that even though there was a language barrier, she was still able to communicate with the woman very well by simply reading the expression in her eyes.
Not only did this experience help her realize how important eye contact is, it positively influenced her teaching as well. Gosselin said, “You don’t just listen to what a student says. You also can see, or you can tell, in their eyes if they don’t really understand. Because they don’t want to lose face in front of their classmates, or they don’t want to ask questions. Whatever the reason is.”
“If you just rely on language, it’s not going to work. But you can see from the eyes, you know, it’s amazing what you can see from only the eyes,” Gosselin concluded with a nod.
It is due to the lessons Gosselin’s learned in Calcutta that her teaching and interactions with others in her day-to-day life have become what they are today.
Featured Image: A photo of the interviewee, Pei-Ying Gosselin. Photographer: Rosemary Pastron ’16