By Alexis Hurley, Staff Writer
As the first semester has flown by, Reynolds students and staff have had the chance to get comfortable with our fantastic new teachers. One of the newcomers, Math III teacher Laurel Li, has had a blast teaching and learning from her students.
Prior to moving to Winston-Salem, Li taught at schools in Shanghai and the United Kingdom. Over
10 years ago, Li taught at an International School in Shanghai where she had many American students. It was from this experience that she gained the eagerness and determination to teach students of different cultures around the world.
“I’m trying to get my students to gain a view of different cultures outside of North Carolina,” Li said. “As a teacher, I learn a lot about my students, who give me a global view about education.”
The learning environment of Shanghai differs in as many ways as possible from United States education. The most noticeable differences are the intense curriculum and high standards that the students are held to in China.
“At my previous school, I had globally ranked students,” Li said. “Math is a passion in China. They play math like students here play football, so it’s a big adjustment.”
Students are quite impressed with Li’s teaching experience in different countries and find that her Chinese culture makes math class a much more interesting scene.
“I remember when Ms. Li let us have a talent show at the end of our unit, and when nobody volunteered to go first, she turned on this traditional Chinese music and started to dance to it,” sophomore Ann Holzwarth said. “Ms. Li not only teaches us math, but also teaches us about her amazing culture.”
Li recognizes the differences between the rigor of Chinese and American education and works to ensure that every student is confident in the material before moving on to another unit.
“Ms. Li is unique with her teaching style because she has us work together as a class to teach and learn from each other,” sophomore Emma Jones said.
There are plenty aspects of her teaching style that teachers and students can appreciate. While helping her students excel with the material, Li does makes sure that her students aren’t just taking the easy way out.
“One of the things I enjoy about her teaching style is that she’s not just throwing answers on the board for us to check. She really challenges us to do our best,” sophomore Brad Knight said.
Li’s determination to teach and learn as much as she can from her students makes her a special addition to RJR. With her insight of different cultures and plentiful teaching experience, she will have a breeze second semester, and hopefully for many more semesters to come.
Photo from Pine Whispers