Preceeding Monday night's Marietta City Schools Board of Education meeting, Hu Yalin, the district's new guest Chinese instructor, was welcomed by approximately two dozen community and school board members.
"I'm so glad Marietta decided to bring a Chinese program here," said Hu during the reception.
Hu will be teaching two sections of Chinese language and one section of Chinese culture at the high school. Additionally she will be teaching two sections of Chinese culture to the middle school students, said Superintendent Harry Fleming.
During the reception, Hu joked with attendees about shopping malls, food and other aspects of American culture. This is her first visit to America, and so far she has loved every minute of it, she said.
"I think this is going to be the most unforgettable year in my life," said Hu, who landed in Los Angeles a month ago and has been in Marietta since Aug. 3.
"I love it here, especially Marietta. It's a very sweet place and the people are very nice," said Hu.
Meet Hu Yalin
- Fact: In China, people are referred to by their family name first. Therefore Hu is her last name and Yalin her first.
- Age: 25
- Family: Parents, one older sister.
- Hometown: Chongqing, Southwest China.
- Education: Southwest University in Chongqing China.
- Occupation: English language and culture teacher in China.
Marietta High School Principal Bill Lee said district administrators decided to start searching for a Chinese teacher as part of their 2010 levy campaign.
"We were discussing how we could enhance our curriculum and the subject came up of China's global impact on the economy," said Lee.
At first, the school district focused its search on graduates of American universities who had a degree in Chinese. However, these candidates were seldom certified to teach.
Fleming then remembered a program offered by the Ohio Board of Regents which allow certified teachers from China to come to the United States to teach.
Hu has been teaching English to Chinese high school students for the past three years.
The Chinese classes have gained a lot of interest from Marietta students. Each of them has more than 20 students, said Lee.
Hu had more than 60 students in her English classes in China, she said. Still she said she is nervous that teaching American students could prove challenging.
"Students in China are very disciplined. I think it is easier to teach in China," she said.
Hu is committed to one year at Marietta City Schools but can participate in the program longer if she and the school board consent.
"She can stay up to three years if we like her, and we already know that we do," said Fleming.
Hu said she is eager to start her American teaching career.
"I think the students will take from me a broader understanding of how other cultures see things," she said.
As the school board meeting drew near, Lee presented Hu with a personalized Marietta Tigers T-shirt.
"I expect you to wear this on spirit days," Lee joked.
During the meeting, the board discussed the progress of the school district's new website.
There was some concern that the new website would not be up and running by the start of school.
Larin Hall, director of Information Technology, explained that Marietta City Schools was late signing off on the order for a new website. Therefore the site is set to be available for faculty and staff approval in mid-September.