Heng Zhao

Middle & Upper School Mandarin; Director of Upper School Global Studies

B.A., Nanjing University
M.Ed., East China Normal University
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

hzhao@morganparkacademy.org

Q&A

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Working with young people! They are YOUNG, so they are energetic, ever-changing, creative, adventurous, pure, and innocent. Being with them makes me feel young and every day is different.

Also, they are PEOPLE. When I was in graduate school, studying very hard to get my Ph.D. in International and Comparative Education, mostly I worked with books, data, and computers. However, I found myself enjoying more working with people. They are different, vivid, warm and uncontrollable “variables.” Most importantly, they have feelings.

When I left the high school where I taught previously, I was immersed in all kinds of warm emotions expressed by my students, which made my heart melt. At that moment, I was reminded that teaching is not just any job. It is special in that we are dealing with people, not some documents, data, or computers, but young people full of feelings.

Why did you choose to work at MPA?

First, I like the culture of MPA, which is very inclusive and international-oriented. We have Global Week, we celebrate the important festivals of different cultures, we taste food of different countries, we teach three different world languages, and we have people coming from all over the world.

Second, I like small schools. You know everybody and we stay together closely as a family.

Lastly, I like cooperative and caring parents. MPA parents not only care about their kids, but also support and appreciate the teachers. Research shows that parental involvement in school has a significant impact on their kids’ success in school.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

I was motivated by my family to become a teacher. I grow up in a family of teachers. Most of my family members are teachers of different levels of education.

When I was little, I remember there was a big mobile blackboard at my grandpa’s house with boxes of old-fashioned chalks. My grandpa, my father, and my aunts used to use it to practice their lessons. At spare time, the blackboard was the children’s best toy. I remembered how I enjoyed playing teacher and students with my cousins and friends.