The Sequoyah Scribe

Chinese teacher bids farewell to Kingsport

Tatum Metcalf, Staff Writer

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Yanni Zhang, the Chinese teacher at Sevier, has always had an interest in teaching foreign language to eager students. Although this is Zhang’s first year as a full-time teacher, many students would agree that she is already a great teacher, friend and mentor. Zhang is from Beij ing, China’s second largest city.

“I love living in Beij ing,” she said. “It’s really a fancy city combined with old and modern culture.” ]

Although Zhang loves living in Beij ing, she also enjoys living in Kingsport.

“It’s quiet and comfortable to live here,” she said. “The pace of life here is slower than in Beij ing.”

Kingsport and Beij ing are very different.

“When I was in Beij ing, people always get off work after 5:00 pm,” Zhang said. “Most people in Kingsport need to continue working until 8:00 or 9:00 pm.” In the mornings and evenings,

Beij ing is much busier than Kingsport.

“In the morning, all the people are running to go to work,” Zhang said. “It’s very busy and crowded at bus stations and metro stations in Beij ing. At night, it’s a little boring in Kingsport. No one hangs out with friends and the stores close much earlier here than in Beij ing.”

One of the benefits of living in Kingsport is the transportation.

“I have my own car in Kingsport,” Zhang said. “In China, I can drive but I didn’ t have a car. Most people choose public transportation because of the heavy traffic.”

Despite the pros of living in Kingsport, Zhang still misses China.

“I miss my parents very much, as the only child in my home,” she said.

There are also things she doesn’ t miss about Beij ing.

“I don’ t miss the air in Beij ing, actually,” Zhang said. “The air pollution is very terrible in Beij ing.”

In her free time, Zhang loves cooking and exercising.

“I enjoy working out with friends and exploring all kinds of delicious food here,” she said.

“I think no one would say no to delicious food. I love all kinds of delicious food. It’s hard to choose. My favorite in China is the grilled meat and vegetables. I like pancakes and pizza here.”

In spite of all the great culture, food and surprises in America, Yanni Zhang is here to teach students Chinese.

“I’m interested in the education methods here,” she said. “Also, I’m interested in the culture here. I started to learn English in elementary school. I love languages. So, in my university, my major is teaching Chinese as a second language.”

Everyone in Kingsport was, and still is, welcoming to Zhang.

“All the people I met in
Kingsport are very friendly and nice to me,” she said. “They help me a lot and I learned much from them.”

In the beginning, she felt very nervous, because she did not know anyone at Sevier, or even in Kingsport.
“The teachers in the library, Ms. Elkins and Ms. Loudermilk, helped me a lot,” she said. “After I was familiar with the staff and students, I felt very happy. It is my honor to join in our Sevier family and work with wonderful people.”

Zhang enjoys watching her students grow in their knowledge of Chinese culture and language.

“When they can sing Chinese songs, can remember Chinese poems, can ask questions in Chinese at the Asian Market and so on, I feel very proud of them,” she said. “I try my best to give them all the opportunities to speak Chinese with real Chinese people.”
Her least favorite thing about teaching Chinese is when students don’ t put forth any effort.

“When some students refuse to learn Chinese culture and disturb other students in my class, I feel very sad,” she said. Even if Zhang wasn’ t a Chinese teacher, she would still want to travel the world.

“Maybe I would want to be an international journalist or an editor for an international magazine,” she said. “I love traveling and exploring different cultures around the world. I always feel that I know little about the whole world.”

Sadly, the fun of teaching Chinese at Sevier doesn’ t last forever for Zhang. “I won’ t come back, because I need to finish my master degree paper in China next year,” she said. “I can only stay in America for one year according to my visa. I will miss the teachers and students here. I hope I can come back to visit our school again one day. I want to say ‘ thanks’ to all teachers and students who helped me. If you have opportunity to go to China, please contact me.”

In the end, Zhang is grateful for her time teaching Chinese in America.

“I hope I can help others through words,” she said.

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Chinese teacher bids farewell to Kingsport