|Zheng (pronounced shing) Xing, 32, is spunky and sophisticated. Her personality seems like a perfect fit at Alma de’arte where she teaches Chinese to grades 9-12, and her knowledge about global development is obvious as she talks about partnerships between China and America, and their need for each other more and more.
Zheng arrived in July 2009 for a two-year teaching period from Shijia Zhuang, Hebei Provence, China. Out of the three teachers featured, she is the only high school teacher.
“High school is very different in China and America. When I show the students what a Chinese class is like, they are able to see how strict the schools are in China,” Zheng says. “It is important to show them the Chinese way, especially the older students. We want to give them an experience of the culture and education.”
The student reaction is welcoming and appreciated, and to Zheng, the results are defined. If my students can't go out to explore the world, I would like to be their eyes to see and be their hearts to feel.
“Some of the greatest moments as a teacher in America are when my students tell me they want to go to China, or when I see a student somewhere and they greet me in Chinese,” she says. Zheng, whose husband remains in China, chose to be a teacher in America for specific reasons, both equally important to her – she wants to impact the hearts and minds of Chinese and American students with her experiences.
“We bring the Chinese language and culture here and then we take back the American culture and language to our students. It opens their minds and their hearts to understand the whole world,” Zheng says. “Nowadays, the world connects together. It is a global future. The kids, no matter where they are or who they are, need to open their eyes and see more of the outside world and different cultures.”
Learning about other areas is what makes traveling so enjoyable for Zheng, whether she is working in a megacity like Shanghai or in a small town like Las Cruces.
“I like traveling because it gives me a lot of experience in different cultures. I’ve been to many places in China and parts of America. If my students can’t go out to explore the world, I would like to be their eyes to see and be their hearts to feel,” she says.