Everett High School students get chance to learn Chinese
EVERETT - Everett High School is welcoming its newest language teacher, Crystal Han, who comes from China.
Han will be teaching Mandarin Chinese to more than 80 students this school year. The Everett School District was lucky to get her through a guest teacher program. Han is among 187 teachers placed nationally to jump-start or expand Chinese language and culture programs in schools.
This Chinese class appears to be a first for Everett schools. Her class will focus not only on learning Mandarin, but the culture and festivals of China.
Everett has her for one year, but Everett High will offer Chinese classes for two years. Through the course, students will learn the Chinese alphabet, numbers, colors and calendar. They will also learn to speak about themselves and their lives in Chinese.
A certain excitement is visible in Han as she talks about her upcoming class.
“Learning Chinese will double their world,” Han said.
Han comes to Everett from Qingdao, a major coastal city historically known as Tsingtao. Westerners might best recognize the name Tsingtao from the imported beer brewed there. The philosopher Confucius was born in her province.
In Qingdao, Han spent 10 years teaching English to non-English speakers at the local university. She will return home to China next summer.
Han, like most Chinese students, began learning English at a young age. At her university, students don’t get their diplomas if they fail the national English exam, Han said.
She’s been amazed by what she’s seen in America so far. Before this summer, the Puget Sound was merely writing in a textbook to her. She has tried avocados, zucchini and raspberries — all new things.
“I like the people here (in America), they are very kind and responsive,” Han said.
Students were worried the class would be too difficult, but their nerves will ease when they meet Crystal, Everett High School Principal Sally Lancaster said.
“I know she’ll do a good job of creating a lot of enthusiasm,” Lancaster said.
For example, Han is considering having her students become pen pals with Chinese students as part of her class.
Everett High has Spanish and French classes in addition to the Chinese class. The school lost its German class a while ago.
Having a Chinese language class “fits a need here, and brings a global view,” Lancaster said.
In international business, some fluency in Chinese is becoming a necessity. One-third of the world’s population speaks Chinese now, Han said.
“Our world is a global economy,” Han said. “If you want to do business with Chinese people, you need to understand our language and understand our culture.”
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