By Jessica Turriziani, Contributor
After just one brief semester at Saint Vincent College, new Chinese teacher Shao Zhenping (Sharon) has been very successful with her students. Ms. Shao is a graduate student at Wuhan University working toward her master’s degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. She is participating in a program through the Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh (C.I. Pitt). This year, C.I. Pitt received an award for being in the top three Confucius Institutes in the United States. There are 40 in the United States alone and over 400 worldwide.
As of now, Ms. Shao will not be teaching at SVC next semester.
When her elementary Chinese I class heard this sad news, we were heart broken. After getting to know Ms. Shao as a professor and also a friend, I felt compelled to write this article about how much she has touched our lives and how we would be devastated if she were not to return.
Freshman Hunter Moore, an international business major, stated, “I walked into Chinese having no prior knowledge about anything and am walking away after a semester with not only some language skills but also an interest in the culture”.
To her students, Ms. Shao was not just a professor, but also a friend and one who instilled a strong connection in her students. Junior Psychology major Emily Polier expressed her strong feelings, saying, “I’ve never met a teacher who cares so deeply for her students and is so passionate about seeing them succeed… I know that her remarkable skill as a teacher is going to have a huge impact on her future students”.
Not only have we bonded with Ms. Shao, we have gotten used to her uniquely excellent teaching methods. In order to aid her students in learning this difficult language, she often made use of online games to help us with character skill and building vocabulary. Having only 12 students in the class allowed Ms. Shao to give each student ample individual attention. We were extremely lucky to have an extra Chinese teacher this semester as it cut a class size of approximately 20 students in half, which allowed the classes to become closer with each other as well as with their professor. In years past, the Chinese classes have always had about 20-25 students and we are lucky to have had and extra professor for the semester.
The issue with Ms. Shao teaching is beyond the control of Saint Vincent College. Ms. Shao not only teaches but is actively involved in the Saint Vincent community. She participates in several clubs on campus, has performed in the culture show, and attends concerts, plays, and other performances given by the Saint Vincent student body. Ms. Shao is not being sent away; that’s not the case at all. Due to her superior teaching abilities and passion to see her students succeed, she is being sent to help another Chinese language program at a nearby school.
Although Ms. Shao will not be teaching here next semester, she will continue to live on campus and can continue to be a friend to her students.