As part of the school district’s efforts to expose students to a variety of cultures and languages, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD has hired three new teachers from China to incorporate Mandarin Chinese at various district campuses.
The teachers are part of the Chinese Guest Teacher Program, which is designed to help U.S. schools develop Chinese language and culture study programs and to promote international exchange between the United States and China. The program is made possible through a collaboration between the College Board and Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban).
Dai Xiaomei, Wang Wei and Jia Li, who currently teach at Palacios Elementary, Garcia Elementary, Liberty Middle School, Escalante Middle School, Kennedy Middle School and PSJA Southwest Early College High School, are looking forward to sharing their knowledge and love of the language with students.
“This is my first time teaching abroad,” said Wang Wei who will be starting his 11th year of teaching. “Everything is new here. I am so excited to teach students at PSJA ISD.”
For Jia Li teaching at Berta Palacios Elementary in Pharr has been great so far. She thanks her principal and other teachers for welcoming her into the PSJA family.
“I feel that I am learning from the students as much as they are learning from me,” said Li. “My goal is to make learning fun and interesting to them by also teaching them about the culture, traditions, drawing and even showing them Kung Fu.”
According to Olivia Martinez, PSJA English Language Development & Biliteracy Director, the district is excited to offer a new language to students.
“PSJA has been a leader in bi-literacy for over 20 years,” said Martinez. “Offering a third language will give our dual language students a unique opportunity and a greater advantage to compete in the global economy.”
The program will pilot this year with the possibility of expanding it to more campuses next year.