Teacher Meng: I Cried When My Students Graduated

Teacher Meng Shuangyi comes from Chongqing and is one of our dedicated volunteer teachers part of our program, Support a Volunteer Teacher in China. Prior to volunteering, she worked in various fields, including statistics, customer service, and writing novels. She enjoys indulging in food and drinks, having fun, and having a relaxed and carefree lifestyle.

She began volunteering in the spring semester of 2020, and it’s her fourth year now, where she teaches Chinese to fifth and sixth-grade students. She had quite the experience for the past 4 years since she started teaching, and she shares some of her learnings and reflections in her most recent letter:

“2020 was unique, and choosing to volunteer during the pandemic wasn’t initially part of my plans. Before signing up, my family repeatedly confirmed whether I was prepared, and I could sense their concerns. Before applying, I did not know Liangshan and was unfamiliar with volunteering. I made sure to gather all the necessary information after making a commitment to be fully prepared for any potential challenges.

Due to the pandemic at that time, there were 40 days of online training followed by offline training. This extended training period gave me a more profound and clearer understanding of where I was going and what I was about to do. To say I wasn’t worried would be false. I was afraid of not being able to guide the students properly.

Teacher with students in a classroom

Fortunately, Liangshan Charity considered this during the training and arranged for experienced elementary school teachers to give us subject-specific classes. They taught us how to prepare lessons, create teaching plans, regulate classroom routines, various teaching methods, and how to grade assignments. Liangshan Charity tried to cover as much as possible about teaching and students, aiming to provide us with comprehensive knowledge quickly.

I met many veteran volunteer teachers and supervisors during the training and learned a lot from them. They were very open about sharing information related to schools, students, and volunteering. They willingly provided insights and clarification whenever I asked about teaching and curriculum.

Throughout my time volunteering, the help and support of those around me enabled me to persist. Over time, I was able to develop teaching methods that suited my style. While I still have much to improve upon, I am committed to making progress and continue to strive towards my goals. Looking back on my four years of volunteering, it feels like I not only taught my students valuable knowledge, but they also gave me a wealth of colorful memories to cherish.

In the early morning, they would wait outside the school gate holding pink and white sorghum flowers and give them to me when entering the school. After casually mentioning that I liked bamboo shoots, each of them brought a bunch of bamboo shoots to school the next day. During home visits, they would hold my hand and advise me, like little adults, to be careful. While going to the market, they would share snacks they thought were delicious. Before holidays, they would especially come to school to give me gifts, saying it was for me to enjoy on the way home. After I got injured, they would ask every day if I was okay and if it still hurt, showing continuous concern. They would occasionally bring small things for me to play with. Every time they saw me, they smiled brightly. They were shy but always getting closer.

student smiling

One of her student smiling during class

I never thought I could volunteer for so long, but semester after semester, I always ended up staying. These children have seen many teachers before me, and I am not their only teacher, but they are my only ones. They are the only ones I will never meet again once I leave, so it’s hard for me to part with them.

In Nuo Tuo, I regretted sending the children off at graduation and felt both happy and sad.

During the graduation ceremony, when I shouted, “Class dismissed, stand up,” for the last time, I cried a lot. I shouldn’t have cried. My children will explore a broader world, and I hope they have a promising future, not just academically but also in health, happiness, and personal growth.”

We have partnered with five remote mountainous Sichuan schools where our volunteer teachers will be located. These volunteer teachers don’t receive a salary but live off the support from this program to meet their food, accommodation, and transport expenses. Access to these schools is difficult, and these schools struggle to get teachers because of the harsh weather and isolation, so your support means a lot to the students.

Thank you to ZURU, GPA Global, ISNS, and supporters from Captivating’s Annual Shenzhen Charity Auction for making this program supporting 30 volunteer teachers possible. 



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