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Teacher's act gives students a valuable lesson

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-26 08:55
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Many deemed it a rash decision when Chen Fangying bade farewell to the glitter and glamour of city life two years ago to teach at a school in a remote mountain village in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

However, every single day spent in the village has only made the 24-year-old realize that her decision could not have been more right.

Chen hails from Guizhou province in Southwest China and spent her student life, from primary school to university, in the province. After graduating from a university in the provincial capital of Guiyang with a bachelor's degree in music in 2019, she surprised everyone by choosing to teach at a primary school in Alimalik village located in southern Xinjiang's Akto county.

Tucked away in the Kunlun Mountains, the village is some 1,800 kilometers away from Xinjiang's regional capital of Urumqi, the nearest metropolis, and over 3,000 km away from Chen's hometown in Guizhou. Most villagers in Alimalik are ethnic Tajiks.

"It was actually quite an easy choice. I was keeping a promise I had made to the students in Alimalik," Chen says.

Reminiscing on her rendezvous with Alimalik, she says she first visited the village in 2018 and was fascinated by its natural landscape and the hospitality of the locals. Having learned from the villagers about the lack of teachers in the only primary school there, she volunteered to teach at the school for three months.

"When the volunteer program was over, I told my first grade students that I would come back and teach them again," she says.

"I'm just glad that I could keep my promise."

Chen currently teaches more than 10 classes every week, covering Chinese, English and music, at the Alimalik primary school. The school has 41 students from first to third grades.

According to the local policy, students from fourth grade and above will pursue further studies in the nearby county, where better education resources are available.

"Ten classes per week are indeed a handful, but I want to teach them as much as possible before they go to the new school," Chen says.

Besides teaching, Chen also serves as the academic dean of the school, working on teaching plans with local colleagues to improve their teaching capabilities.

Chen says that seeing her students achieve positive changes makes her immensely proud.

"Most of them used to be very shy and timid. They didn't dare to think out of the box to explore more possibilities of life and would rather hide behind me on espying strangers," she says. "So I encouraged them to freely express their ideas in class and tried to help broaden their horizons by using multimedia teaching equipment.

"Their confidence has obviously grown. Some of them even volunteered to serve as guides or interpreters for tourists visiting the village. It is satisfying to see that I have helped make a difference."

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