The First Official Chinese Class of the School

By Nate Frame, Staff Writer — China has a population of over 3 billion. The number of people who speak Chinese as a native language in the word is approximately 1 billion. Combined with China’s prominence in the world economy, Chinese has become a very widely known and important language to learn. And now our school is offering classes to teach it

The 2015-16 school year marks the first year of Chinese as an official foreign language course. In this course, students will learn how to write, speak and read Chinese language as well as learn about the culture and history of China. This year there is only one class, Chinese I, and only one class period during 3B and 4B. In the next couple of years there will be Chinese II, Chinese III, Chinese IV and perhaps AP Chinese.

Chinese is taught by first year teacher Hannah Thomas. After having taken Chinese her senior year at Jackson High School, she continued learning the language, then taught English in China for a year and got the opportunity to teach Chinese at Plain Local Schools when she came back to the United States. Her class has been a success so far as her students have shown a great deal of interest and joy from Chinese.

“Other programs don’t get the same amount of enthusiasm,” Thomas said.

Thomas has tried to make class fun for her students to generate enthusiasm for the subject. So far it has paid off, as her program is expected to grow with students already spreading the word to their friends.

“She teaches us more like we’re friends than students,” sophomore Justin Bartoss said.

Thomas has been encouraged by the early interest in her class, as Chinese is something she feels passionately about teaching. Over 2 billion people in the world speak Chinese, and there is no shortage of reasons to visit China, with what Thomas says is a country rich with new opportunities and experiences.

“If you want a perspective different from your own, take Chinese,” Thomas said.

[Updated Aug. 13, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]