Metro Welcomes Largest Group Of Chinese Teachers - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Metro Welcomes Largest Group Of Chinese Teachers

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For the first time, Metro students in the Hillsboro cluster will be able to take Chinese classes from elementary to high school.

"I'm very excited," teacher Qi Fan said. "This is a fantastic place."

For many of the Chinese teachers like Fan, this is their first time in the United States.

"When students learn the language at an earlier age they're able to retain it and use it more often," Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele said. "By the time they get to high school they should be fluent speakers."

Students at Eakin, Julia Green and Carter Lawrence Elementary Schools; Rose Park and J.T. Moore Middle Schools and Hillsboro High Schools are participating in the program believed to be the only Kindergarten through 12th grade Chinese continuum in the state.

"They really want to know everything in China, everything about China," teacher Jian Feng Guo said about American students. "The food, the clothes, the movies and the music."

Guo is returning for his second year in the program.

"When I (came) here everything was different," he remembered, "so I had to re-learn everything."

Now, he's giving the six other teachers advice. It's the largest cohort of Chinese teachers the district has since starting the program three years ago.

"I heard jazz last night which was really amazing," Fan said about how she's already enjoying her time in Nashville.

The teachers are still taking-in the entire experience, because like their students, they too are learning about a new culture.

"Kids in Chinese schools are very quiet. They'll follow the instruction of the teachers," Fan explained. "But I heard American students (are) not like that, not in that way."

The teacher's excitement was evident as they toured Hillsboro High School.

"I'm confident to teach Chinese and introduce the Chinese culture to the students in America," Fan said.

Each one said they're excited about the opportunity in what's becoming a more global curriculum.

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