I was born and raised in southeast China, where it has four seasons and plenty of rain. My love for language and creative writing came at a very early age. By the time I graduated from high school, I had won four first prizes in four city-wide writing competitions. In 2007, I went on to study Chinese language and literature at Beijing Language and Culture University, where I won another first prize in the university-wide playwright competition. Following my graduation in 2011, I spent a gap year honing my creative writing skills in my second language, English. In 2012, I was accepted by the creative writing -- poetry program at New York University with a full-ride tuition scholarship. In the following two years, I studied English poetry writing with Sharon Olds, Charles Simic, Yusef Komunyakaa etc, and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 2014. While I was developing a bilingual writer's career and having my work published in different magazines, I was also passionate about the nonprofit and development world. I had amazing internship and volunteering experience at United Nations Population Fund, Asia Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Arts etc., strengthening my editing, communications, marketing, PR and administrative skills. I have also founded the translation business Transwords Translations LLC (transwords.net), and have completed numerous translation projects between English and Chinese for Asia Society, Museum of Chinese in America, Pen America etc. As a dedicated language learner and advocate for cross-cultural communications, I am excited to use my bilingual language learning and writing experience to help others overcome their language learning and interpersonal communication barriers to advance their academic and professional goals. I currently live in Atlanta, working on a nonfiction book about my experience growing up in China. I appreciate the seasonal rain in southeast America.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Beijing Language and Culture University - Bachelors, Chinese Language and Literature
Graduate Degree: New York University - Masters, Creative Writing
Reading, ballet, swimming, movies, cooking, traveling
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am here to serve my students' needs. I am not going to demand: "Here is what you need to do." Instead, I am going to ask: "What can I do to help you reach your goals?" I see my student as my equal, and the exchange of knowledge is mutual.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I am going to wear a big smile and introduce myself briefly before I ask my student his/her basic background information, trying to understand where he/she is at, what he/she is concerned about, and what he/she wish me to help. The main purpose of the typical first session should be to grasp the bigger picture of the student's background and goals (both short-term and long-term goals) before we dive into details of the tutoring subject. And at the end of the session, we can make plans (both short-term and long-term plans) for the upcoming study sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would get to know my student, find out his/her interests, personality, and short-term and long-term goals, before I design a personalized learning formula that is fun and rewarding to fully engage him/her. Once the student has that focus, he/she will be much more likely to develop independent learning skills.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Get to know her and value who she is; tell her that she is important and special; find out her talent and interests; cater to her strength; build on what she already knows before covering new knowledge; use verbal affirmations and rewards; show her unconditional faith.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Spend a lot of time with her in that area; design learning tools, activities and games; repeat over and over; assess her grasp of the concept at different times and evaluate in different contexts; be very patient when she stumbles; offer her a lot of encouragement; offer big rewards in the end!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would first show them the unparalleled importance of reading comprehension. It is a surviving skill in this information era, a skill we use every day to understand emails, announcements, textbooks, exams, application materials, news, articles, social media posts, and texts etc. A successful modern person is a successful reader. Misinterpreting reading materials or failing to identify real and fake information can cause serious consequences. After my students fully understand the key role reading comprehension plays in the world, I will then guide them through specific reading materials, raising questions (who, what, where, why, when), finding key reading elements (vocabulary vs. sentence structures etc., causes vs. effects, arguments vs. examples). I will guide them to evaluate the effectiveness of the reading material (argumentative vs. expository vs. storytelling). I will also encourage my students to think independently by asking questions like "What are the strong and weak parts of this article? If I were the writer, how would I write it differently?" Little by little, I hope not only to help my students read more smoothly but also to develop their independent thinking skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I use storytelling, body language, smiles, good listening, verbal affirmation, innovative teaching methods (games, music, art etc.), showing care, planting a seed of purpose, humor, etc.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Use games, story-telling, visual elements, music, video clips, and other innovative learning tools. Communicate with them, find out what they are concerned about, and instill confidence in them!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Use short-term and long-term quizzes, and quiz randomly to make sure a student fully understands the material regardless of the time and context. The quiz should be designed creatively too!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Find out what she already knows and address the importance of that previous knowledge because that is the source of her confidence (people feel confident when they "know"). Then, I will slowly add new information based on what she is familiar with. This way, she will not feel completely clueless. Instead, she will feel reassured and excited to expand her knowledge based on an already rich base.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask a lot of questions, be a good listener, make notes, address her specific concerns, remember to follow up, care and foster a reciprocal relationship.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Ask where she is at in the academic or professional setting; what level of difficulty she is comfortable with; what learning materials she is using; what short-term and long-term goals she has; what was her favorite moments of learning; what are the negative learning experiences she had and why etc. I will make a note and make sure all her answers are respected and considered when I tutor that student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For Chinese language tutoring, the teaching materials can be very creative. Other than traditional textbooks, I like to use spontaneous materials: everything we see during the tutoring session (the lightbulb, table, tea, people, street, tree, car etc.), handy creation on a piece of paper (a quick drawing, chart, collage, paper-cut, etc.), a lot of body language, acting, dialogues, etc. Since a language is used to communicate in any environment at any time, I like to pick up random locations and contexts to reinforce relevant learning points on the go.