“As new, young teachers, we are ambitious, passionate and hard-working, but we lack experience and practice. Fortunately, the University’s “Project Blue” gives us a chance to take up apprenticeship with senior, more experienced teachers, which helps us avoid detours on the way to a teaching career and become qualified as teachers as soon as possible.” This was the fond reflection of Duan Xiaofang, young teachers representative, at the “Project Blue” apprenticeship signing ceremony held on September 10th. This year, along with eight other new teachers, Miss Duan has become one of the participants of a new round of “Project Blue”.   

“ What my mentor taught me is valuable experience. I appreciate and cherish it a lot.” 

Miss Duan is a recently graduate from Hohai University, where she majored in civil engineering. As the new term started, due to continuous heavy enrollment in the School of Civil Engineering at Nantong Radio and TV University (RTVU) this year, Miss Duan was asked to undertake the task of teaching four courses, in addition to working as class teacher. For a new teacher who has just stepped onto the podium, everything is filled with challenges. “Although I have taken all these courses before, the knowledge I have mastered is very different from what I am going to help these students understand.” Miss Duan felt very pressured. “I was a notorious sleepyhead before, but now I prepare lessons late until midnight every day, and get up at five the next morning, since I have a different role to play and there is much more responsibility on me now.” Every morning Miss Duan persists in reviewing the material to be taught, recording it with her mobile phone and listening to it repeatedly. She improves it continuously until she is satisfied. 

Miss Duan’s mentor is Liu Haitao, Dean of Studies, a senior teacher who has been engaged in teaching for nearly twenty years and been endowed with very abundant experience in teaching and management. Mr. Liu has given a lot of specific advice to Miss Duan and instructed her on all of the details of the position, including receiving new students, convening the first class meeting, preparing teaching plans and writing speeches, etc. “My mentor told me to love and respect my job, make selfless dedication, and dare to take on challenges. Every time I get confused, my mentor will point out the right way for me, and when I slow down, my mentor will spur me on with encouragement.” Feeling the personal attention and care for young teachers from the University, Miss Duan works even harder. Within just days of starting work at the beginning of the new term, she has won favorable comments for her enthusiasm and sincerity from both leaders and students in the University. On the eve of Teachers’ Day, coming back to her office after inspecting the students’ dormitory, Miss Duan found a card on the table and she opened it softly. A line of warm words caught her eye: “Miss Duan, although we have known each other for only several days, your enthusiasm and love has deeply impressed our minds. Wishing you a happy Teachers’ Day!” At that time Miss Duan’s heart was filled with an unparalleled feeling of achievement.  

“I love to share with my apprentices what I have learned and my entire life’s teaching experience.”

Ms. Ma Suping, with 29 years of teaching experience, is a senior mathematics teacher in the Department of Basic Courses of Nantong RTVU. Ms. Ma felt that the mission was very glorious and the responsibility was immense when she was assigned the task of pairing up in an apprenticeship with young teacher Huang Hao. “Although I have taught for more than 20 years and handled it with ease, it is still challenging for me to pass on my teaching experience to my apprentice, since it requires both ability and the right methods.”

In order to make her instructions more precise, Ms. Ma went to listen to Miss Huang’s first class and she wrote down the minutes in every detail, from introduction of new lessons to illustration of sample questions, from asking questions to school assignments, even including the time distribution of every step. Ms. Ma analyzed and commented on each of the steps one by one after class. She also shared everything with Miss Huang without any reservation, from analyzing students’ characteristics, to preparation of teaching plans; from the design of blackboard -writing when preparing lessons, to controlling every step in the teaching process. “The reserve of knowledge of young teachers is not a big problem and they have enough enthusiasm for their work. But they need instruction to help them comprehend good standards and habits at the very beginning, since they don’t have any experience in academic organization.” Ms. Ma considers that “Project Blue” has a bearing on the growth of young teachers and the development of the University. Therefore, as a mentor undertaking important tasks, she must prove to be worthy of the University’s expectation and engage with her apprentices using sincerity and genuineness. Mentors must personally demonstrate the effect of teaching by precept and example, leading apprentices to learn to be a good person, study knowledge, and consider their teaching methods. Mentors must encourage apprentices to concentrate on studies, dare to practice and excel, and grow to be the backbone of the University.     

“What the teachers do is not only ‘to transmit wisdom, impart knowledge and resolve doubts’, but more importantly, they teach students how to be a good person.”

In recent years, Nantong RTVU has put great emphasis on training young teachers, and has made greater efforts to implement “Project Blue”. On the one hand, it tried hard to create an atmosphere of helping and instructing apprentices, offering maximum opportunities based on the principle of “Mentors use their talents and display their unique skills while apprentices concentrate on learning and reinforcing themselves”. Through a series of activities consisting of talking about, listening to, and appraising lessons, design of teaching plans, courseware development and thesis rating, it constructed a platform for teachers to promote their own teaching skills. On the other hand, it did its utmost to create an environment where teachers could improve their educational and professional qualifications, as well as implement teaching reform so as to promote the professional development of teachers. “Project Blue” has trained a large number of excellent professors with such examples as professor He ZhenJun, a professional leader and winner of the inaugural “Nantong Distinguished Teacher” award, and Zhang Jian, who won the title of “2012 Inspiring Nantong Educational Figure”, thus giving impetus to the further promotion of the educational quality of the University.  

Mr. Liu Qidong, the Party Committee Secretary of Nantong RTVU, notes that, for a university, teachers are the foundation and the source of development. The development of the university is closely bound up with the hard work of every teacher. At the same time, the University will also try its best to offer a platform for all teachers to realize their own aspirations and dreams. What the teachers do is not only “to transit wisdom, impart knowledge and resolve doubts”, but more importantly, it is to teach students how to be a good person. “Project Blue” is not only an effective means to make greater efforts to train young teachers, but also addresses the need to implement the spirit of the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC to build up the ranks of teachers, raise their professional ethics and competence, and enforce their sense of honor and responsibility in imparting knowledge and cultivating learners. 

By Cao Min, Chen Tian, Ouyang Zhaobei, China Jiangsu Net