by Maddie Robertson ’18
Although she is leaving after only a year of teaching at Marian, Mandarin I teacher Ms. Jessie Guo has left an everlasting mark on the Marian community.
Before coming to Marian, Guo worked in Lincoln, Neb. through the Confucius Institute. There, she was a Mandarin teacher.
“My job was flexible. I went half-time to schools who couldn’t afford a full-time teacher,” Guo said.
Guo reached out to preschools, adults and other community members interested in learning more about Chinese language and culture.
After teaching in Lincoln for four years, Guo was reassigned to Omaha.
In addition to teaching evening and weekend classes, Guo secured a job at Marian to teach Mandarin I.
“It’s a really nice community with nice students and nice teachers. We teachers help prepare students to be independent. The students are cooperative,” Guo said.
Throughout the school year, Guo learned alongside the students how to most effectively teach students a language they had never been exposed to previously.
“Most people think this is really challenging. I push them really, really hard. But they don’t say no and they follow my pace. We work together to make this class comfortable for both sides,” Guo said.
In addition to the language difference, the classroom setting was different for Guo. In China, most class sizes average about 70 students. At Marian, they are capped at 30. Guo appreciates the small-scale class sizes and the opportunity it has given her to more easily reach out to students.
Because of her expired visa, Guo will have to travel back to her home country of China. However, she does not plan on letting go of teaching or the Marian community.
An app know as WeChat will allow her to stay connected to her students, including the seven who are taking Mandarin II.
Guo has touched the hearts of many, but students and faculty have had just as much of an impact on her. French teacher Mrs. Janet Tuttle, who Guo shared a classroom with, has been an indispensable friend to Guo.
“Mrs. Tuttle was my mentor, actually. She will always answer my English questions,” Guo said. Tuttle even inspired Guo to include more Chinese culture into her lessons after Guo saw her do the same in her French classes.
“And thank you for teaching me French,” Guo said. She has taken almost every French I test along with Tuttle’s class this school year.