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An illustrative image could depict a dedicated teacher carrying a shoulder pole with a heavy load of textbooks through challenging terrain up a mountain road to a remote village school.

Teacher’s Triumph: Overcoming Challenges in the Remote Village of Heihumiao


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Question: he village of Heihumiao is far away from everything. In earlier times, inhabitants who wanted to leave the mountain had to follow the trails carved by cattle and sheep on the ridge, climb over the hilltop, and then pass through the precipitous hillside of Bali. The mountain road is so rugged, it is impossible to ride a bicycle through it – it would take at least five hours to climb the hill, with no transportation available. The harsh conditions meant that few teachers were keen to take up positions here. The school needed teaching materials ( e.g. books, textbooks, pencils and erasers); but also basic food supplies, such as oil, salt, vinegar, vegetables, rice. All these things had to be carried in from the city. From 2001 to 2006, Zhang carried these supplies all the way up the mountain, using baskets tied to a shoulder pole he inherited from Wu the former principal of the school in the village of Heihumiao. This was the only way to make it possible for the children to attend school, and to give them the opportunity to leave the mountain one day – if they chose to. One winter day, the mountain road was too slippery to walk on. It was almost the first day of school, and the children’s textbooks were still in Gaoqiu, a town more than thirty kilometres away. Faced with this challenge, Zhang and another teacher rushed to the town in the early morning, carrying the shoulder pole through muddy roads. When they returned to the school, weighed down with their load of textbooks, they were almost completely covered in mud. But the books remained clean. Conditions have improved in recent years. Since 2006, a concrete road provides access to the village, breaking its isolation. Buses have started plying the route occasionally, since the winter of 2017. Zhang now drives a motorcycle to ferry textbooks and daily necessities to the village – he is often weighed down by over a hundred kilos. But conditions still remain difficult. Since the teacher’s return, four of his motorcycles have broken down, and he has had to replace countless tires. Zhang refuses to complain, however. “I think all my efforts have been worthwhile, because the students I taught were able to go out of the mountains,” he says. Before he became a teacher in the village, he was the only student from Heihumiao to have attended college – the number has since increased to twenty-two. Due to the lack of teachers, Zhang has trained himself to take on many roles. He is both the principal and a teacher of mathematics and ethical education. Over the last eighteen years, he has also acquired skills that go well beyond the scope of his initial training. In addition to teaching, he doubles up as a cook, a tailor after school, and even a nurse, in emergencies. But his role of helping students goes even further. Most of the parents of the children work away from home, and Zhang understands the ordeals faced by each of the families. “During all these years, none of the students in our village have dropped out of school because of poverty, especially the girls,” the head of the village said. Zhang persuaded the parents of students whose families live far away from the school, to let their children live and eat on the school premises. Assisted by his wife, he has helped the students wash and mend their clothes, and has taken care of all their daily needs. With his meagre income, he has financed more than 300 students so they could continue their studies.” Fortunately, with the help of the education department, conditions at the school have continued to improve. With fifty-one students currently enrolled, the school now has new dormitory buildings, canteens, playgrounds, and computer classrooms. Influenced and inspired by Zhang, four- retired teachers have decided to return to the mountains to resume teaching. Encouraged by social recruitment, there are eleven teachers at the school today. “As long as children are there, so will we be,” some of them said. 1. Identify the seven roles of a teacher that Zhang played out in his class. (2 x 7 = 14)

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1. Principal: Zhang took up the responsibility of being the head of the school, managing administrative tasks along with teaching. 2. Mathematics Teacher: He taught mathematics, one of the core subjects, to his students. 3. Ethics Education Teacher: He also imparted lessons on ethical education, teaching students the difference between right and wrong and the importance of moral values. 4. Cook: Zhang took up the task of feeding his students, preparing meals for them. 5. Tailor: He mended and washed the clothes of his students, ensuring they are properly dressed. 6. Nurse: In emergencies, he acted as a nurse, caring for the health and wellbeing of his students. 7. Financial Sponsor: With his own income, Zhang took up the role of a financial sponsor, supporting his students' education and living expenses.

Answered by gpt-4

Feb. 24, 2024, 11:50 a.m.

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Published: Saturday, February 24, 2024

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