If you have had a discussion with anyone about American education then you probably have heard of “Teach for America.” But have you heard of “Teach for China?” Started in 2008, Teach for China’s website states the organization is, “inspired by the vision that one day, all Chinese children will have access to a quality education.” In order to do this, Teach for China recruits and trains highly qualified college graduates from the U.S. and China to become teachers in the poorer areas of the Chinese countryside. During summer vacation, Teach for China assists its teaching fellows in finding meaningful projects elsewhere in China. This Summer, WildChina was thrilled to welcome two of Teach for China’s finest from Yunnan: Xueling and David Li.
Xueling is a Chinese citizen from Shenyang. Xueling was originally inspired to join Teach for China because she wanted to do something meaningful. For someone who did not have any formal teaching experience prior to joining Teach for China, Xueling took to the program like a duck to water. In her classes, Xueling has even invented a clever point system whereby students are incentivized not only do well, but also to assist their classmates, and to let Xueling know if she makes a mistake on the board. In a country where the sheer size of the population can make for brutal competition, a system that encourages teamwork seems like the perfect cure.
Although David was born in the Chinese city of Qingdao, he moved to the United States when he was two and grew up in West Virgina. David graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, and decided to join Teach for China because he was looking for a way to gain some international experience. Working for Teach for China has been eye opening for David. Not only has it shown him the incredible discrepancies in educational opportunities between China’s coast and its interior, but it has also given him a new appreciation for the social mobility allowed by the educational system in the United States. One of David’s hopes in working for Teach for China is to help increase the opportunities available to Chinese students to change their lives.
This summer, David and Xueling put their talents to work for WildChina in a whole number of areas from social media to chaperoning trips. Unfortunately, after only five weeks, it is already time for David and Xueling to return to Yunnan. When David and Xueling complete their two year stints with Teach for China in 2013, their personal journeys will continue. David is hoping to enroll in graduate school in the fall of 2013, while Xueling, inspired by her experiences with Teach for China is hoping to go into school management or eventually found a school of her own. With leaders like these, Teach for China’s vision may just come true.
If you are interested in visiting a Chinese NGO when you are in China, send us an email at at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to try and work one into your journey.