Tales From Tibet 4: The Joys of Being a Teacher

Zhang Min:

This summer, I once again returned to my alma mater, Shanghai’s East China Normal University (ECNU), to take advantage of a new preferential policy directed at “free admission” students — those whose tuition fees have been waived in return for a pledge to teach for a set period after graduation. After completing our degrees, we free admission students can also return to our former universities during the summers and take master’s-level classes for free.

Returning to my old stomping grounds is a wonderful feeling. At ECNU, we can engage with some of the most progressive education in the country. However, the person I am now is very different from the person who left a few years ago to work at Lhasa High School in the beating heart of Tibet. Sometimes I wonder whether the didactic theory I’ve learned at ECNU will ever take root in Tibet.

This past year of teaching in Lhasa seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. The best thing about the experience was that even though I was starting as a new teacher in my first post, I was still able to experiment with different styles of teaching, thanks to the liberal teaching culture at Lhasa High.