TOTM: Yih Lee

By Victoria Gunawan, Senior Writer

When choosing a language to learn at WCHS, many students think of Spanish or French, yet there is one language that is unique and taught with extraordinary knowledge: Chinese.

A member of the language department, Yih Lee teaches Chinese 4 through 7 and AP Chinese. Growing up, Lee had no intentions of becoming a teacher. However, when her son began taking Chinese lessons at a weekend Chinese school, Lee began to teach the seventh grade there as well, starting her teaching career.

“I realized that teaching was not at all about nagging students to do what you wanted them to do,” Lee said. “There is a lot of problem solving involved, which I really like to do, and that was the reason I took this job at Churchill. It was just like solving an enormous puzzle to create a new program.”

Although Chinese is a difficult subject, Lee teaches the subject with extreme knowledge and poise. Class time is valuable to her and she always finds activities for her students to do such as playing games, watching clips of the latest Chinese movies such as “The Wandering Earth” and listening to Chinese songs from famous artists such as Hua Chen Yu.

“Ms. Lee is one of the most dedicated teachers around,” French teacher Bharati Umarji said. “She is passionate about what she does and how she does it. She is very demanding of herself and her students, which consequently results in her students performing very well on objective assessments.”

Because Chinese is a hard subject, Lee almost always makes herself available at lunch. She is always willing to explain and elaborate class material.

“Ms. Lee is incredibly dedicated to making sure her students succeed in learning the Chinese language and culture,” senior Rebecca Redlich said. “Although we must work hard and spend hours studying for her class, it always pays off.”

Outside of the classroom, Lee enjoys searching for new Chinese movies or drama series to recommend to her students. She also enjoys trying out new Chinese restaurants. Her favorite thing to eat is hotpot, specifically the restaurants Urban Hotpot and Hotpot Legend in Rockville, Md.

“The best and most natural way to learn a language is to immerse oneself in the language and the culture,” Lee said. “What can be more fun than watching a lot of TV and having good food?”

Lee’s teaching can be described as nothing less of incredible as she wishes only the best for her students. She appreciates their diligence and eagerness to understand the language, and especially the culture. Her continued success has earned the respect of her students as well as of her colleagues.

“I am very grateful to have students who are extremely self-motivated and intelligent,” Lee said.  “They challenged me to become a better teacher with their curiosity to learn more. What they have accomplished in Chinese can only be described as miraculous.”