Teacher Feature: Lucy Qi

In a symphony of characters and tones, where ancient wisdom dances with modernity, AP Chinese Language and Culture teacher Lucy Qi brings the beauty of Mandarin to life within the walls of TPHS. With each stroke of her whiteboard marker, Qi breathes life into the Chinese characters, revealing not only the beauty of a language, but also the essence of a rich, colorful community.

According to Qi, the desire to become a teacher was present ever since her childhood.

Before joining the TPHS staff in 2021, Qi obtained her undergraduate education in Chinese Language and Literature in Guangzhou, China, before moving to Chicago, Illinois, for her master’s degree.
“After pursuing my teaching credentials, I [taught] at a middle school, but then I thought, ‘It’s time to experience [teaching] another grade level,’ and that’s when I heard Torrey was looking for a Chinese teacher,” Qi said. 

Ever since her first class on campus, just two years ago, Qi has emphasized “building a positive relationship with [her] students.” Her classroom becomes a sanctuary of belonging, where laughter harmonizes with learning and individual growth takes center stage.

“My first impression of Mrs. Qi was that she’s a younger teacher, always smiling with lots of energy,” AP Chinese student Abigail Liao (11) said.

According to Liao, Qi implements her own teaching strategies alongside the more commonly used online applications, namely Kahoot!, Quizizz, Quizlet Live and more. 

“We had a classroom economy, a merit system for participation or winning a class activity, to ‘buy’ snacks, extra credit and more,” Liao said.

Zoe Huang (10), another AP Chinese student, explains that Qi’s innovative teaching approach was one of her fondest memories of the class.

“Some of my favorite games Mrs. Qi used in class include the fly swatter game and charades,” Huang said. “In her class, learning vocabulary and sentence structures were filled with laughs instead of groans.”

According to Qi, the most important aspect of learning any language is understanding how to utilize it in the real world.

“[Qi] encouraged me to talk more with my parents in Chinese. She also taught me new words that my parents say and I can finally understand,” Liao said.

While some students in her class speak Chinese at home, Qi works to dissolve barriers between native and non-fluent speakers, unifying various levels of language proficiency.

“She really tries to make everyone feel comfortable in the classroom, especially for people like me who are not as fluent as the native speakers,” Liao said.

Besides teaching, Qi is consistently involved in clubs and parent organizations on campus, specifically through her work as an adviser for the TPHS Asian Student Union.

“My favorite memory [with Qi] was planning the Lunar New Year festival at lunch for ASU this year. It was a lot of fun planning and seeing us share our culture with the student body at TP,” ASU President and Qi’s former student, Julia Liu (12), said. “We collaborated with her AP Chinese class so that students could bring in their cultural projects and share it interactively with the school.”

The sole Chinese teacher on campus, Qi said one of her biggest challenges is increasing awareness of the Chinese language curriculum.

“I put a lot of thought and effort into expanding the impact of the Chinese program,” Qi said, noting that one approach she takes is to encourage students to use the language outside of class. “I want to give more people who are not learning Chinese an equal opportunity to know our language and culture.”

At TPHS, Qi not only leads her students through the labyrinth of Chinese characters, but through the puzzle of adolescence and life itself. Students’ assignments transcend mere ink on paper and become vessels of connection and bridges to cultural understanding.

“It is clear that Mrs. Qi wants her students to excel inside and outside of her class. One of her lasting impacts on me will be her empathetic and encouraging nature and her optimistic approach to learning,” Huang said.

As her students reflect on their time in her classroom, they remember not only the Chinese characters they have learned but also the laughter-filled games, the sense of community and the newfound interest in Chinese culture. In the hearts of those she has touched, built upon countless shared moments and heartfelt connections, Qi will forever shine as a luminary of kindness, leaving an indelible mark as a teacher, mentor and source of unwavering care and compassion.

Read on Issuu.

5 thoughts on “Teacher Feature: Lucy Qi

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