Happy Teachers’ Day!

Today is Teachers' Day in China, students are sharing their heartfelt wishes to their teachers for their tireless guidance, mentorship and the key role they play in their lives and futures.

Qian Yi:Devoted to education and environmental protection

“I have been devoted to two things in my life, education and environmental protection. I find these two things are both good for the world so I am gratified," said revered octogenarian academician Qian Yi in a series of lectures named Humanitas Tsinghua.

Despite being the daughter of Qian Mu, one of the greatest historians and philosophers of 20th-century China, Qian Yi, also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, believes that every student should apply the concept of sustainable development to his or her major and future work. Thus she has been teaching a course on "Introduction to Sustainable Development" since 1998. Apart from education, Prof. Qian devotes her life to environmental issues such as clean industrial production.

In the documentary The Great Learning, she visited her 101-year-old teacher Xu Baojiu on Lunar New Year's Eve, symbolizing the never-ending teaching spirit, "For me, there is always room for improvement and of course the future depends on youth."

Xiao Wei:Living up to our mission

Xiao Wei received her bachelor’s degree from the Beijing Film Academy and her master’s degree from the Central Academy of Drama. During her doctoral studies, she taught acting and directing classes at the Beijing Dance Academy. Such study experience has long been entangled with her art creation and art education. In 2013, by chance, she embarked on a wonderful journey to meet the theater of “New Tsinghua Xuetang”. She said it was “love at first sight” and that she would “never regret it”. And just like that, she remained there until now.

When faced with some tempting job opportunities, she hesitated, but in the end she stayed. “At first I was influenced by my parents and family. But then I realized that I really loved working on campus. I feel quite comfortable with teaching. More importantly, I have a natural respect and awe for teaching”.

Busy with teaching, preparing lessons, creating, rehearsing, writing academic monographs, reading English materials and attending workshops,  she tried her best to keep exercising and keep fit despite the intensive work. She has been like this day after day and never allowed herself to rest. “The excellence of students in Tsinghua poses the greatest challenge to teachers. I feel like I’m wasting their time if I’m not teaching them well enough. We must live up to their youth and live up to our mission”.

Compared with professional art colleges and universities, art education in comprehensive universities is quite different, which requires her to adjust her teaching concepts and teaching methods accordingly. After getting to know the artistic atmosphere at Tsinghua, Xiao Wei found that the students were much more active than she had expected. The positive communication atmosphere gave her great confidence. She felt that perhaps some interdisciplinary, distinctive, high-end and innovative art courses could be developed at Tsinghua university in the future.

In the past, Xiao Wei loved to create and hoped to bring power to people through her work. Now, she still loves it, but in a different way: “As a teacher, my best work is my students.” “My responsibility to each one of them is greater than my expectation of a piece of work,” she said.

Cai Zheng:Pushing a world-leading telescope in Tsinghua

Cai Zheng is a young astrophysicist at Tsinghua University. He was a NASA Hubble Fellow and could continue his career in the U.S., but he chose to come back as a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy, a new department in Tsinghua. He joined Tsinghua just before the establishment of the Department of Astronomy, where he became a junior faculty member.

After more than ten years in the U.S., he has made several discoveries in the field of galaxy and cosmology in early Universe. Moreover, he always cherishes one dream: to build a world-leading optical telescope for China, presenting people the image of the boundary of the deep Universe. He hopes that in a Chinese University, people can also conduct the cutting-edge science using our own telescope.  

Of course, building such a large facility is not easy. Cai Zheng and the team has to deal with many challenges in technology, human resources, management, and so on. He insisted: "It is not easy to achieve something, but I’d like to devote myself into this, because someone has to do this." As President Qiu has said, "Out of ten attempts for true innovation, nine may fail and only one may be successful." It takes at least seven years to build a telescope, and Cai Zheng is willing to spend his life forging this telescope that carries his dream. This is not only a longing like looking up at the stars, but also a pursuit that requires down-to-earth effort.

Students' messages

I appreciate every opportunity given by Prof. Xiao. Since she knew I love to take pictures and edit videos on my phone, she gave me multiple chances to take pictures for her new play ‘Art’ and made me become the director of the trailer. As she is one of my favorite professors at Tsinghua,  I wish her well in everything she does.

Jennifer Zhang,

School of Journalism and Communication

As an undergraduate, I am glad to know Prof. Cai more in the documentary ''Great Learning''.  I am deeply touched by his passion for astronomy and the determination to contribute to the country. I hope that he become a shining beacon in the field of astronomy.

Liu Xujia,

School of Journalism and Communication

In my freshman year, I took a seminar given by Professor Qian called "Environment and Development". Before the course started, considering that she was in her eighties by then, I thought she would let the teaching assistant lead the course. But she was the first person to arrive in the classroom every time, and stood on the podium to teach us the content of the day. During the group discussion, she would participate in each group discussion, and guided and encouraged us. All this moved me deeply.

The love and care you have given us will encourage us to go through a long journey. I'm truly grateful to you for all that you have done. Happy Teacher's Day!

Yang Meiqi,

School of Environment

Writers: Song Ziyao, Mina Cheung

Editor: Liu Shutian

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