Teacher Spotlight: Lei Wei

Lei Wei

Although Wei (bottom) has only been in the U.S. for a few years, she has had no trouble being on her own. She visits her friends as much as she can, as shown above on a recent trip with them.

Stephanie Meadowcroft, Lifestyles Editor

At the young age of 18, Chinese teacher Lei Wei wanted to travel from her home country of China to the United States to expand her horizons. Her parents didn’t want her leaving home at such a young age, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goal.

“I wanted to come to the United States because I needed to change and have new experiences,” Wei said. To make the transition easier on her parents, she decided to receive her bachelor’s degree in Macao, China, before coming to the United States.

Originally, Wei was not planning on becoming a teacher. “I wanted to be a reporter or journalist at first, so my first major was Mass Communications. One time during layout design, though, I felt no passion or desire for that work,” Wei said.

Wei then changed her major and received her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. “When I did an internship with students, I felt so excited and I wanted to teach because of the enthusiasm I felt,” Wei said.

After graduation, Wei achieved her goal of coming to the United States at age 22 and began working on her master’s degree in Secondary Education. “My parents were very supporting when I came to the United States, and I was used to living by myself because of college in Macao, so I was not lonely,” Wei said.

Wei was excited to begin working at JC because it was her first year teaching. “During my [job] interview, I saw that there were motivated classes and passion in learning. You need cooperation from students, which is the most important thing,” Wei said.

Wei decided to teach Chinese because it comes naturally to her since it’s her first language. While Wei is still improving English, her second language, she has no problem teaching students.

“When teaching Chinese, my English is fine. I try to speak more Chinese in my level three and four classes, but for my first year students I use more English, especially when teaching grammar,” Wei said.

For Wei’s first few years in the U.S., she has been enjoying herself. She goes to visit her friends that live in New York and New Jersey. The few times Wei has gone to see her friends were the times when her students asked her about her weekend. She let them know that she does go to see her friends when she can, “but not as often as my students think,” Wei said.

She also told her class once of a paintballing experience she had with her friends. “My friends took me paintballing, but I only played five minutes before I needed a break. I went just one time, but my students think I go all the time because I told them that story,” Wei said.

Even though she hasn’t been back to China for a year and a half, she doesn’t get too homesick. Her parents came to visit her this past June. “I am also planning on going back to visit China and my family during spring break,” Wei said.

Stephanie Meadowcroft is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.