We are sticking to the theme of “newbie” this week by introducing you to Grace Tseng! Tseng joined the Ensworth faculty full time this year as a Chinese Teacher. I think you will love getting to know her as much as I did! Without further adieu, here she is.
A: My career has been in teaching since high school. I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 and immersed myself in teaching students of all ages. Up until that point I had primarily taught piano as a primary job and Chinese as a secondary job. However, after graduating with a degree in Piano Performance, I took a weekend job teaching Chinese. I fell in love with sharing the Chinese language and culture with students, and realized that this was the career that I wanted to pursue. Soon, I began attending workshops and culture trainings on a regular basis. Upon hearing that Ensworth was seeking a Chinese teacher, I applied without hesitation. I cannot even begin to describe the ecstasy I experienced when I found out that Ensworth wanted to give me the opportunity to teach children the Chinese language and culture. It has been a long road that brought me to this destination, but I am delighted with my teaching journey.
A: Learning Chinese requires a solid foundation. Several components of Chinese are completely foreign to people who have not already had exposure to the language; therefore, it is greatly helpful for new students of Chinese to be exposed to the tones and the history of Chinese characters. The earlier that students have this helpful exposure, the easier it will be for them to eventually read and write Chinese in later grades. There are other benefits to learning Chinese early on. The chance to be creative, the richness of the history, and the insight into the culture helps create even more well-rounded and diverse students. Still, the most realistic application of Chinese is to enhance students’ futures. As China grows, the number of global employment opportunities grows as well, and students who may work internationally would be wise to study Chinese.
A: The thing that I enjoy doing the most is traveling. I love learning about different cultures and regions, and I get excited about trying new things and unusual foods. Some of the countries I have been to are Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and of course Taiwan and the United States. One of the most memorable events during my travels is the time that I got wrapped up in an elephant’s trunk in Thailand. I wasn’t worried because it was part of a tour, but it was still sort of scary! I also got to take pictures with a tiger and eat a several different cooking styles of alligator meat and eggs. I also enjoy watching football, doing arts and crafts, shopping, and hanging out with friends.
Q: I know you went to HS in Nashville, but were you born here? If not, when did you move from China? How often do you go back? Tell us a little about China and different things you love about the culture and people.
A. I was not born here—I was actually born in Taiwan. Taiwan is a Chinese speaking country that is (mostly) independent from China, but our Taiwanese history has a lot to do with China. I moved here from Taiwan with my family in July of 1999 in the hopes of improving our futures. I usually go back every two years to see my relatives, submerge myself in the culture, and revel in the amazing food. One of the things that I miss the most about the country is the food and the transportation. In Taiwan, we have something called “Night Markets”—these are areas packed full of street vendors, and the area only opens for business from around 4 p.m.to as late as 3 a.m. They sell all sorts of local products, such as steamed dumplings, “stinky” tofu, shaved ice, and assorted daily necessities. It is a shopper’s paradise because there is so much variety, you can barter with the vendors, and it is incredibly convenient. Convenience is also what I miss about the transportation in Taiwan. There is no need for a car as you can go from subway/tram to bus/taxi, and it is cheaper than paying for gas and parking for a car. I miss Taiwan dearly, but I have learned to enjoy my life in the United States as well!
A: I love Ensworth’s sense of community, since people are always so willing to help each other out and give beneficial advice. The students are very involved in the school. They quickly connected with me and often share their lives with me. I have observed that the students at Ensworth are encouraged to take control of their education. They are not afraid to ask questions and they are eager to be challenged in the classroom. I also like how supportive the parents are. I have always believed that a successful education is the result of administrators, teachers, students, and parents building a strong relationship, and I see this every day at Ensworth.
Q: Who is the next faculty member on the High School campus you would like to see featured?
A: I would like to see Will Hester as the next faculty member to be featured.