It’s nice to see you this morning
Taking one look around Chinese teacher Livia Chengâ€™s room â€” decorated with fans, masks and lanterns â€” makes it clear that she has been curating not just a language, but a culture in her 23 years of teaching at Walnut.
â€śChinese culture and language has about 5000 years of history. I hope students will realize there are many things in this culture valuable, and still useful in our society nowadays. I hope learning Chinese will expand their job opportunity, and empower them to make more money,â€ť Cheng said. â€śThere is something about seeing your studentsâ€™ enthusiasm and efforts to learn Chinese that keeps us teachers going. There is a sense of fulfillment when students work hard and make progress in their studies. And there is joy when a rapport is built in the classroom between students and me.â€ť
Though Cheng only taught Chinese in Walnut, the first two years of her career were spent as a Special Education teacher at an elementary school in Wisconsin. She has also made her impact through teaching three years of Chinese lessons at Walnutâ€™s Saturday schools.
â€śI pay attention to student personality development. If we can be thoughtful and helpful to others, we can make our society more harmonious. I also teach students to live smart in our busy life, such as using broken time to study while you are waiting for your ride. Check the weather forecast on Sunday, and then prepare several sets of clothes for the whole week in advance. This way, you wonâ€™t waste time wondering what you should wear every morning.â€ť
Her time at Walnut may have come to an end, but Cheng isnâ€™t done with teaching. Between spending more time with her family and traveling the world, she plans to privately tutor anyone who still wants to learn from her.
â€śHigh school students are still young, and teachers play an immeasurable role in their development. They are like clay and need to be molded. If we teachers set high expectations with guidance, set disciplines with fairness, then students can be shaped a good life-learner, and develop a good personality,â€ť Cheng said. â€śWhile I will miss teaching, I am also glad itâ€™s time to get some rest and relaxation.â€ť
By Angela Cao, Opinion editor
Photo by Jessie Dixon