A “Long” road ahead: NC welcomes new Chinese teacher Long Yuhuan
Sam Smith, Reporter
August 31, 2016
On May 26th, 2016 — the day after NC closed its doors for the summer — Chinese teacher Xue Junyu returned to China to complete his master’s degree. This year, Long Yuhuan stepped up to take his place.
“Before I came [to NC], I taught college students in China…. [During] my bachelor’s degree, I [taught] middle school, [teaching] Chinese students in Chinese. For my master’s degree, students from other countries had a [Chinese] class,” Long said.
After getting her master’s degree in Chinese Second Language Education, Long came to America for work. She eventually found a job at a preschool in Hall county as a Chinese language and culture instructor, where she worked for two years. Long possesses the rare ability to work well with children of all ages and enjoy her unique experiences.
Nevertheless, Long did not intend to end up as a preschool teacher, so she eventually moved on. She used The Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University to find another teaching position.
“The Confucius [institute] asked me if I wanted to change, and I said ‘Yes!’” Long said. “At first I told them that I just wanted to not teach Pre-K anymore. I [had] thought ‘ok, even elementary is fine,’ But now [at NC] I think ‘ohhhh, this is why I’m [teaching]’. In Pre-K, [it’s] just about making fun, they don’t care about how your grades [are]… [the administrators] just like them to make fun and know something about China…. [But] I think I like high school better than Pre-K, because in Pre-K, I don’t think I can teach them. It’s just [that any] person [who] comes from China who speaks some Chinese can go into Pre-K. But here, I think, it’s not just that [if] you know some Chinese you can teach. Here, I’m called a Chinese teacher.”
In addition to having a third and fourth period Chinese at NC, she teaches first period Chinese at J. J. Daniell middle school.
“Middle school students, they are not much younger: 8th grade,” Long said. “They don’t choose the class, the school helps them choose the class, so sometimes they are misbehaving, so I think they need more games compared to the high school students. But they still have the grade, they can take [their grades] and go to [their] high school, so I think sometimes they still pay attention…. I think my middle school class only [has] three students that aren’t focused on the class. The others are good.”
Before teaching at NC, Long taught school in China. She interned at a middle school during her Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese Literature, but taught college students as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for her masters in Chinese Second Language Education.
“Before I came here, I taught college students in China,” Long said. “[During] my bachelor’s degree, I [had] an internship for the middle school, I [taught] middle school, [teaching] Chinese students in Chinese. For my master’s degree I teach students from other countries, [they] [had] a [Chinese] class. Maybe Level One, maybe Level Two, maybe Level Three.”
In her ideal future, Long would like to teach at a college again, but as a professor.
“If there’s a college that wanted me to go [and teach] there that would be ok, but maybe it wouldn’t be in this area,” Long said. “It maybe would be in Boston: MIT, Princeton, Harvard something like that. I hope! But I need experience [in order to teach] college students. This is my dream.”
Still, Long thrives teaching at NC, which exceeds all of her expectations.
“I [told] some other Americans that I [would be teaching] at NC High School this year, and they went ‘ohhhhhhh, ok. The students [are] not good,’” Long said. “They were so worried about me, they said ‘do you think you can control them?’ At first I went ‘oh, really?’, but so far I think my students are really good. I really like it here and I told some here [that] I really like my high school students. Compared to my middle school students, I really like my high school students.”