Middle School Mandarin Teacher Shan Callaghan

Years at the Academy: 4

Degrees: B.A., Hunan University (China)

How do you inspire a student who has a hard time learning a different language?

I encourage my students to participate in activities related to Chinese culture, such as attending a Chinese acrobat show or the Pittsburgh Chinese Festival, or even to take a trip to China to seek out connections between what they are learning and the real world.

What are some of your interests and passions outside of the classroom?

I like exploring new cultures and places. I love to travel. The Silk Road trip I took a couple of years ago was my favorite. I also like to watch foreign movies. I enjoy listening to foreign languages; they sound like music to me.

What are your favorite moments with students?

When students make connections to Mandarin in their daily lives. One time, I had a student come to my room, and he told me, very excitedly, that he understood all the conversations in Mandarin that took place between two Chinese people who sat next to him on the bus. Or when my students recognize the Chinese characters they see in the community. I love seeing the pride and excitement on their faces.

What do you most want a student to take away from having known you?

I would like them to have open minds so that they can enjoy exploring different cultures, people, and languages for the rest of their lives.
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Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.