Written by Mandarin Teacher, Hui-Ling Singer. 

As the 2021-2022 school year comes to an end, here are some of the highlights that were captured during Mandarin classes in the Middle school in the month of May.

Miss Katie, one of our Buttercup kindergarten class assistants, came to 6th grade Mandarin class recently as my special guest to share with the children her experience of teaching English in China and Taiwan. She told the children how important it is to learn a foreign language at a very young age and how much fun it was for her to teach English while traveling around Taiwan.

She brought a lot of fun memories from Taiwan to share with the children including a very creative scrapbook and a Taiwan travel guidebook. Listening to her talk about Taiwan brought back a lot of fun memories for me as well. I’m so glad to know that she likes Taiwan so much and would like to go back someday.

Miss Katie is going to Washington State to attend a Waldorf teacher training program and eventually would like to become a certified Waldorf teacher. I told her that maybe after she finishes her Waldorf teacher training and receives her teaching certificate, she can go back to Taiwan and teach in one of the Waldorf schools there. I know that her gifts and talents will be well received in Taiwan. Many joyful blessings to her future endeavors!

Chinese names have meanings. I’m often asked by my students, “Tseng Lao Shi, what’s my Chinese name?” I always answer, “I don’t know.” They then look at me and say, “Really, you don’t know?” And of course, I would answer “Really, I don’t know.” The reason that I don’t know is because I am hesitant to only use the pronunciations of their English names and match them with the Chinese characters that sound just like their English names. By doing so, there is no meaning at all. My intention is to give them real Chinese names when they are in 8th grade. Their Chinese names will then reflect their personality and strength.

Chinese first names usually consist of two Chinese characters. In Chinese culture, sisters will often share the first character, and the same goes with brothers. Most of our 8th graders have been together for many years, so they are just like siblings. The first character these four sisters share is 怡Yi meaning happy. Here are their names in Chinese with the pronunciation next to each character and followed by the English meaning in the parenthesis from left to right in the above photo: 怡Yi (happy) 柔Rou (soft, gentle), 怡Yi (happy) 敏Min (quick, nimble), 怡Yi (happy) 靜Jing (still, quiet), 怡Yi (happy) 雅Ya (elegant, refined). 8th grade had the opportunity recently to learn how to write their Chinese names in Chinese calligraphy using the traditional Chinese paint bushes.

7th grade loves Chinese dumplings. They had the opportunity to make more in class a week or so ago. I don’t remember my mom following any particular recipes for making dumplings, so I usually just try to remember what they tasted like and experiment along the way. Fortunately, there is more than one Asian market in Lancaster for me to go and get some of the ingredients we needed. I have to say these dumplings turned out quite delicious.