Harker hosted two exciting visits from exchange teachers last month, one from Japan and the other from China. Both Yu Sasaki of Japan and Zhang Tao of China were warmly received and are now missed by students and teachers alike.
On Sept. 6 Sasaki, who lives in Sendai, Japan, visited the upper school campus to talk to students about her work with Save the Children, a leading nonprofit organization devoted to promoting children’s welfare. Sasaki is currently involved in Japan’s post-tsunami relief efforts and used her Harker visit as an opportunity to inform the upper school students about it.
“It was a wonderful experience to discuss our post-tsunami relief efforts with five Japanese classes at Harker. In each class, I got interesting questions from students and was happy to know that they still care about what happens on the other side of the earth. I was also amazed by the charity work some students did after the tsunami,” she said.
Then, from Sept. 8-21, Zhang Tao (who goes by Ruth) visited from the World Foreign Language Middle School (WFLMS) in Shanghai, China. In recent years the WFLMS has added a high school, where Zhang teaches English to sophomores and juniors. During her time at Harker she observed and taught classes on all three campuses, spending the bulk of her time at the middle school. Highlights of her visit included teaching such subjects as Chinese poetry, Mandarin, calligraphy, and tai chi.
“She was super excited to have been selected for this exchange,” recalled Jennifer Walrod, director of Harker’s global education program. “When I met with her while visiting China last March we spent a lot of time discussing what types of classes she could teach while here.”
In addition to the annual teacher exchange program with Japan and China, Walrod explained that Harker’s partnership with WFLMS has resulted in a student exchange program in the middle school as well. Harker also hosts visiting teachers from Australia.
The teacher exchange program is an example of Harker’s ongoing effort to build progressive academic and cultural partnerships between institutions around the world, providing meaningful experiences for students at all grade levels – preparing them to be true global citizens.