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5 Questions for...Zhao Yu (Vincent)

Zhao Yu (aka Vincent) is this year's Chinese Guest Teacher at Foote—the 16th exchange teacher we've had since establishing our sister school relationship with Yali School in Changsha.

Zhao Yu will spend the fall semester at Foote teaching about Chinese history and culture in every grade and participating in classroom events and schoolwide celebrations. He will focus especially on Chinese folklore, specifically Sun Wukong, aka the Monkey King, one of the most famous characters in Chinese literature. While here, Zhao Yu will stay with a number of Foote host families to experience family life in America.

He received a warm greeting at the all-school welcome assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 11, where the first order of business was teaching the school how to pronounce his name. We sat down with Zhao Yu to find out a little more about our newest faculty member!

What do you teach at Yali?

I am a head teacher in the English Department at Yali High School. We call it Grade 3, but in the U.S. it would be 10th, 11th and 12th grades. I have been a teacher for 16 years and this is my eighth year at Yali.

What do you like about teaching?

Teaching is a kind of art. The students should be interested in you as a person. An old Chinese saying goes, “Like the teacher, like the subject that he or she teaches.”

Tell me about your family and hobbies.

My wife is an OBGYN. I have two sons, who are 10 and 5. We live with my parents and my in-laws also live in Changsha. I play soccer every week with some of my old friends. I read and go fishing on weekends. I use fake worms made of plastic to fish for bass!

Zhao Yu with China Program Coordinator Deb Riding on this year's 9th Grade Cape Cod retreat


What do you want to learn about the U.S. and education while you’re here?

First, I want to learn about American teaching strategies, how students use student-centered activities and games to learn. And I want to understand the differences between Chinese and American education. Here people pay more attention to communication, personal growth, responsibilities. The Chinese are more focused on results—the better university you can enter.

What are some things you will teach here at Foote?

I will be focusing on Chinese folklore. I want students to learn more about Chinese culture, or to make a comparison between Chinese and American culture.

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