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Faculty Spotlight: Meet Union Catholic teacher Ya Wen

Union Catholic has launched a new spotlight series, which will highlight faculty and staff members.
In our first installment of the series, the spotlight shines on Union Catholic teacher Ya Wen.   
Faculty/Staff Member: Ya Wen 

Years of service at Union Catholic: Seven.
 
Position at UC: Currently teaches International Support Program, Mandarin Chinese - levels 1 and 2, and SUCCESS 
 
Education: Mingde High School in China. New York University -  majored in Foreign Language Education & TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). 

Activities in high school:

"Schools in China, especially public schools, did not have as many extracurricular activities as U.S. high schools. Schools and parents wanted the kids to focus on academics. Therefore, I participated in many academic after school programs, like Literature and English.'' 
 
Before UC: Interned at the New Orientation which is the largest provider of private educational services in China. After graduating from NYU, came directly to UC.
 
Journey to UC: "I was born and raised in China (Changsha, Hunan). I came to US because I went here for the graduate school and to experience a different culture. I saw the job offering for an ESL teacher at UC and emailed my resume.'' 
 
Biggest changes you’ve seen at UC?

"I feel UC has always been this way. The faculty and staff members are always very nice and helpful. If I have to say one change, I think it would be technology. When I first came here, I think UC just started to use Canvas because we had many Canvas Training Professional Development. UC has digitized the library. Students have access to noodletools, New York Times, Newsela. And the IEP forms are available on Canvas, and teachers can read them directly from the computer. We are using Instagram, FaceBook, WeChat, Twitter to tell the world what UC has been doing. Not to mention ZOOM during the pandemic.'' 
 
What clubs do you moderate, and what are some things your clubs are currently working on?
 
"The previous club meeting with the Chinese Calligraphy Club we did the scroll painting. Students wrote Chinese words on the rice paper. The next SDSN (schedule dedicated to students needs) on Oct. 28th, we are going to DIY the canvas tote bag.
This school year, I am planning to put Chinese on the art! The Chinese word is a piece of art. Actually not just Chinese. Most of Asian languages, like Japanese and Korean, are art! We had international alumni from Korea and I have friends from Japan. If this year the Chinese Calligraphy Club goes well, I am planning to upgrade it to the Calligraphy Club, and invite my friends and our alumni.'' 
 
What do you love the most about working at UC? What makes this place so special to you? 

"Everyone is soooo nice and considerate'' 
 
Things you are most proud of on your years at UC?  
   
International students performing at the Pep Rally
Students participating in the poetry contest.
The field trips to New York City for the Lunar New Year celebration.
  
Something about yourself that most people don’t know? 

"I don't look like I am good at cooking, but my kids (Morgan 5, Miles 3), and my husband love the food I make.'' 
 
Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

"Spend time with my kids. I usually schedule the weekend very busy. They have different classes, playdates, and parties. If not, I will bring them to the museum and library.'' 
 
Favorite UC Core Values?

"Respect -I came from China and people there come from basically the same cultural background. People have the same color of skin, hair and eyes. I was taught to respect the difference of course but I did not have that much chance to experience differences. The US is different. Here are full of different cultures. 
Communication. Because everyone is different and unique, communication is the way of showing respect and displaying misunderstanding. 

Compassion  - Be compassionate towards others as well as yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, then you will not be afraid of mistakes.'' 
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