Humans of La Tour XIII: Ms. QU

This article is one of a series of posts dedicated to our latest project, Humans of La Tour. Inspired by the successful Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, Humans of La Tour is comprised of a series of journalistic portraits created by the Journalism students at La Tour. They seek to highlight a few of the many people who make up the La Tour community: those we see every day as our professors and classmates, as well as those whose hard work and dedication keep the school running smoothly on a daily basis.

Each portrait was created by an Anglophone Section student in Ms. Temple’s Journalism Elective as part of their final project for the Spring Semester 2021.

Ying Qu / Photo by Haley Temple

By Raphael Jacob (1EA)

“Democracy is one of the best things in France and efficiency is one of the best things in China,” Ms. Qu, one of La Tour’s Chinese teachers, told me when, recently, I had the chance to interview her on various subjects such as her arrival in France and her opinion on French education and lifestyle.

Ms. Qu was born in the Jilin province of China and arrived in France in September 2008.  Before working at La Tour, she was taken on as a trainee at lycée Henri IV and also worked as a Chinese teacher in a public school in Seine Saint-Denis. As a teacher, she has intense weeks: “I have classes from 6e to Terminale, more than 23 class hours per week and also many meetings with my colleagues.” However, she said she is pleased with her students who she finds both motivated and dynamic. “The best thing about being a Chinese teacher is to see students get better and better every class,” she explains.

Discovering French education was a surprise for her as it differs from Chinese education. Chinese students feel much more pressure concerning their high school diploma: “Teenagers spend a lot of time studying because the final exam is extremely important, whereas the French system offers more possibilities concerning studies,” she said. She believes that both systems of education have their unique benefits, as French students have many options and Chinese students excel at exams.

Furthermore, we discussed what she preferred about the French lifestyle. As mentioned previously, she immediately thought of democracy and freedom. “What I llike about France is how the government always listens to the nation,” she said. Furthermore, she also detailed the cultural richness in Paris, with all the different museums, monuments and artistic expositions.

Nevertheless, she also took the time to describe some of the challenges of living in France. “I also think French people sometimes have too much freedom; for instance, there are some violent protests that would have never happened in China.” She also finds that public transportation is less efficient and less unclean compared to those in Beijing or other major cities in China.

Overall, this discussion was helped me to bridge the cultural gap that can exist between France and China. It has also been a great way to learn more about a teacher who we see every day!

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