by Xinhua writers Jiao Qian, Yue Wenwan and Li Wei
WUHAN, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Wearing traditional Chinese embroidered shoes, 63-year-old Diane Berthelot walked around her classroom to check and correct the students' pronunciation as they read English novels aloud in groups.
Students in each group of three or four were asked to take turns reading a section of a popular book, be it "Twilight," "Jurassic Park" or Danny Wallace's Hamish series, and the others would listen and point out the mistakes in their classmates' pronunciation.
This is a typical scene in Berthelot's class, an American who has been teaching English at the Hubei University of Technology in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, for over nine years.
Berthelot believes in keeping learning simple. By looking at the teaching methods being used and talking with local teachers from various grades, she created a unique teaching methodology that enables students to learn faster by creating a strong foundation.
"Mrs. Berthelot has corrected the mistakes in my pronunciation and changed some of my ideas. I'm lucky to have a teacher like her who is competent and easy-going," said Lin Ling, a freshman at the university.
Back in her hometown in the United States, Berthelot used to work for a large insurance company and had always wanted to be a teacher and travel around the world.
She first showed her talent for teaching English when she helped her native Chinese sister-in-law overcome the difficulties in learning the English language. The latter encouraged her to go to China to pursue her dream.
"Having the opportunity to come here and become a teacher is like my dream come true," said Berthelot.
During the COVID-19 epidemic that had hit Wuhan hard, Berthelot decided to stay and moved her classes online. She said she did not panic at all because the university took good care of her.
"I think the way China handled it [COVID-19] was to be commended. Everything was done in such a way as to make it the least difficult on the people," she commented.
Over the years, she was most impressed by the rapid changes that have taken place in Wuhan and China as a whole. New buildings and streets have sprung up, and cities have turned greener.
"I have never seen a country grow as quickly as China has," she said.
China will build itself into a strong country in culture, education, talent and sports by 2035, according to a communique released after the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in late October.
In Berthelot's eyes, the country is already in the process of realizing that goal. The changes are being felt through the improvement of students.
"Just look at the students. Every generation is getting better and better," said Berthelot.
Berthelot's experience as a teacher has constantly brought her a strong sense of achievement. She still remembers when a student from her first year of teaching came back to visit her and told her that she had changed his life.
"That made me feel so good," she smiled.
After this term, Berthelot will be retiring and reuniting with her family in the state of Florida.
She will bring back various traditional Chinese ornaments that she has always been fond of and tell her grandchildren stories about China and the Chinese people she met who have become her friends and family. Enditem