Teachers in the Spotlight: Min Tang
Min Tang is a chemistry teacher at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, she has a PhD in chemistry and material science from Imperial College London. Before coming to Dulwich, she worked for Imperial College London as a research associate for many years. Min kindly agreed to be interviewed.
Q What was your career path before coming to Dulwich?
A I finished my Bachelor of Science at Tianjin University. Then I applied for a position in Imperial College London to continue my study as a PhD student. I must say, it was quite a challenge for me at the beginning. The furthest distance I had travelled before London was to Tianjin. Suddenly, I was thousands of miles away from my home country, and I needed to deal with people and learn lots of things using a language I was not very good at. Luckily, I had support from my supervisor; she was very patient and gave me lots of support, and she strongly believed that I had the capability to finish my PhD degree. In the end, I finished my PhD in 3 years, published some papers and got one patent. I continued my academic career as a research associate in Imperial College London for a number of years. During those years, I had a few different research topics, and I had some teaching roles. Working with students of different ages, I found that I enjoyed helping students from local high schools a lot, so I decided to take a teacher training program in Imperial College London – Inspire – a program to train STEAM teachers (with masters and PhD’s only).
Q What attracted you to a teaching career at Dulwich? What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them? How do you interact with students?
A I went to a conference about science education during my PGCE training year, and I met a teacher from Dulwich International High School Suzhou there. We sat on the same table and worked together on some practical activities. During the break time, he asked me where I came from. When he found out I was Chinese, he told me a lot about the school where he was working. His enthusiasm about this school made me curious about it, and I thought it might be a good place for me to start my teaching career. When I started to teach here, it was not easy for me. I was specialized in Chemistry, and I have learned a fair amount of Physics. Out of the three science subjects, it’s only Biology that I’m not confident to teach, as I only learned a very small amount of Biology in my middle school. When I realized I was going to teach Natural Science (mostly Biology) for a year, my heart rate increased (Fight or Flight response). For a whole year, I didn’t have any spare time for my family. I worked every night and at weekends to learn Biology and prepare the teaching material. It was a difficult situation, but I began to enjoy learning Biology. When I prepared my lessons, I tried to share my learning experiences in my teaching material, to make the students enjoy learning biology along with me.
Q What’s your teaching philosophy?
A I think motivation is the key to success. So, when I teach, I try to make the environment friendly to the students and use interesting videos/examples and intriguing questions to inspire and motivate them. I try to make the students love the subject, so they want to learn it.
Q What are your thoughts about Dulwich International High School Suzhou?
A I think our school is doing a fantastic job of preparing students for life abroad. Dulwich International High School Suzhou doesn’t only prepare students academically, but also for dealing with lots of other difficulties they may face in everyday life. These skills are invaluable for students who are going to live independently, away from parents and home country. I would feel very lucky to have been a Dulwich International High School Suzhou student before I went to UK.
Q Can you name some students you are proud of?
A I taught most of the current year 11 students last year. A lot of them have impressed me a great deal. Some of them worked very hard and made a lot of progress. Some of them are willing to help other students, they show great team spirit. Some of them have lots of talent (not necessarily in my subject). Every student is different and I am proud of all of them, in one way or another!
Q What are your personal achievements?
A It is hard to say. I have achieved lots of things, but none of them seems worth mentioning here. Most of my achievements are in the sphere of academical success. In my personal life, I can only say I tried my best to be a good mother/wife/daughter.
Q What are your hobbies?
A I love reading. I spend most of my spare time reading books.