New Chinese Teacher Immerses Her Students in Chinese Culture

Nate Stitt

As a new faculty member, Middle School Chinese teacher Chiaju (Lucy) Lin is applying engaging learning tactics in her classroom.

Lin comes to Greenhill from a Chinese elementary immersion school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she taught math and science for eight years. She  teaches fifth, sixth and eighth grade Chinese at Greenhill.

“I use a lot of Chinese Immersion, which makes my teaching style unique,” Lin said. “I know that Chinese is hard, so you need a lot of tools and body language to help teach.”

These tools are impressive to Head of Middle School Susan Palmer.

“She uses best practices, meaning she gets kids up out of their seats,” Palmer said. “She does many interesting teaching strategies that engage her kids, and I think she is a very effective Chinese teacher.”

Middle School language chair Joan Romanosky agrees.

“She has a lot of new ideas,” Romanoksy said. “She brings some fun and engaging activities to the Chinese classes. It was clear that she was an excellent candidate.”

Lin was highly regarded at her previous school, and she is already viewed as a valuable teacher in the Greenhill Middle School, Palmer said .

“The teachers she left behind in Massachusetts consistently cited her as a person who was always pitching in, always wants to plan and work together, and I think that happens a lot in our language department, too,” Palmer said.

Lin’s colleagues also believe that she has an optimistic attitude. She is “energetic, passionate, friendly and holds herself to very high standards,” Palmer said.

Lin studied in Taiwan, where she majored in English. She began to tutor and found that she really enjoyed helping and connecting with people. She especially enjoyed helping others learn, so she studied education as well, Lin said.

“She has really strong, positive ways to manage the energies of the classroom.” Palmer said.

Lin’s students value Chinese immersion.

“She speaks a lot of Chinese, immersing us in the culture so we can learn faster,”  eighth grader Jadon Lee said.

The transition from a Chinese immersion school to an English-speaking school is difficult, Lin said.

“A month ago, I came here for the interview,” Lin said. “Everyone was really pleasant and always had smiles on their faces.  But there was a lot of small talk.”

As Lin was first settling in, Greenhill faculty participated in get-to-know-you games about communication, strengths and weaknesses. To Lin, the language barrier proved to be a challenge that she is looking to overcome.

“English is my second language, so it is easier to converse in my native tongue.,” Lin said.

Another difficult transition that Lin has faced is the difference between elementary and Middle School students.

“I need to prep for three different classes now,” Lin said. “I’m still adjusting myself to this kind of mode where I teach many students.”

One of the attractions for Lin in moving to the Dallas area was the warmer climate. In Massachusetts, she enjoyed the scenery, but eight years in the cold winters was challenging.

In her free time, Lin enjoys baking different food combinations and hanging out with friends. It’s a way for her to express herself and relax, she said.

“I love baking,” Lin said. “I’m an imaginative person, so what I bake is usually not something you will see all the time.”

After navigating the transition to a new school and city, Lin now has goals she hopes to achieve.

“It might take me longer than everyone else to get used to everything,” Lin said, “but it’s getting better.”