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Chinese teacher arrives, wants to be part of community

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

(Photo)
Dongmei Wang, center, is greeted by Mindi DeWitt, assistant principal, and Dulcie Davis, principal, of Thomas Magnet School, upon her arrival in Nashville from Shanghai, China Friday evening. Wang began work at the school Monday morning.
(Submitted photo)
Bedford County's newest teacher joined classes at Thomas Magnet School Monday after arriving in Shelbyville late Friday night.

Dongmei Wang, 41, was selected by a team of local educators in a trip to interview candidates earlier this year. Wang is considered key to the formation of Chinese culture programs at TMS and throughout the county.

'Thrilled'

(Photo)
Thomas posted its welcome to the new teacher Friday.
(T-G Photo by Tracy Simmons)
"We are thrilled to have Ms. Wang join Bedford County Schools," said Cheryl Harris, assistant superintendent. "She has a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experiences to share with our students.

"We are especially delighted [at the potential] that she may be with us for several years so that we can establish a strong foundation for our language and cultural programs in the system."

Wang's salary and living expenses for the year are sponsored fully by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, part of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), sponsors 357 posts around the world.

She is in the process of getting full accreditation from the State of Tennessee to teach.

Acceptance

"I do hope people accept her and welcome her, as she is so lovely and so excited about being here," said Harris. Local community groups and churches are encouraged to make Wang a part of their activities and events, giving her every opportunity to fully embrace the middle Tennessee area.

Wang holds a degree in Chinese literature from Kaifeng College; a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and hosting and a master's degree for college teachers, both from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, China.

In addition to being an instructor at Qianjiang College of Hangzhou Normal University for many years, she has also served as a professor at the Zhejiang University of Technology and the Zhejiang Jiangnan TV Arts College. She's a recognized face on television in her region, working as a hostess, planner and editor of television programs in Kaifeng and Suzhou.

"I know that Ms. Wang is looking forward to becoming a part of the Bedford County community," said Harris.

New trend

Cultural programs are an increasing trend in education. A National Public Radio story this week told of a new mandate in Macon, Ga., in which every child in pre-K through 12th grade will have instruction in Mandarin Chinese.

Bibb County superintendent Romain Dallemand told NPR, "Students who are in elementary school today, by 2050 they'll be at the pinnacle of their career. They will live in a world where China and India will have 50 percent of the world GDP. They will live in a world where, if they cannot function successfully in the Asian culture, they will pay a heavy price."

The school is rolling out the new language instruction a few classes at a time, with the youngest students learning first. In three years, students in all grades will attend Mandarin classes.

According to NPR, "Some parents see a Communist regime enacting its geopolitical agenda on their children."