My favorite teacher is Mr. Scott Searer who taught my English Comprehension class in tenth grade. You know he’s a good teacher if he can make you look forward to a class focusing on writing summaries. We students love Mr. Searer’s unique humor in teaching and sharing his ideas and we are just amazed at how much he knows about Chinese culture. The way he is able to incorporate Chinese culture in his English classes and the fact that he is able to speak Chinese fluently have really helped us gain a better understanding of the concepts we learn and that is something at our school that only he is able to do.
What I really like about him is how he has his own unique style. His fascination for tea and philosophy, his irritation with modern technology, the way he words his sentences, his humor (sometimes mixed with a little amusing awkwardness), you immediately recognize these features as “Scott”. I think it is important to develop an original voice and unique perspectives that set you different from everyone else. People who have found their own styles are the ones who live exciting lives and they are the ones that can keep students interested in classes like English Comprehension.
Tell me about yourself. I’m Scott Searer, I’m an English Teacher at the Beijing No.4 High School International Campus. My wife Wang Fang is a homemaker. We live in Beijing along with my son, Michael Justin Searer, whose six years old and my daughter, Jane Maire Searer, whose seven months old now. Both of my children are American.
How long have you lived in Beijing? What brought you here?
Ten years. My last 3 jobs were in the tea business, and I was talking about tea with a Chinese costumer and we became friends. We were discussing tea in Chinese and she exclaimed:”Why aren’t you in China?” Within 18 months, I followed her advice.
Why did you become a teacher? Have you always been a teacher or did you do something else before?
In America, I did a little tutoring in English and Chinese. I was ambitious about reading and learning, but it was all for my own pleasure. Like many Literature majors my original goal was to be a writer. It was in China that I actually have done some writing, along with a bit of translation and lots of editing.
Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
Scores of lucky people have gotten to know John Siscoe of Seattle’s The Globe bookstore. His shop was around the corner and down the street from my apartment; he patiently talked about Beckett’s prose with me for about 15 years.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I ask lots of question.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Teaching bright kids is fun.
What has been your greatest success as a teacher?
Becoming a teacher in Beijing No.4 High School.
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching?
To gain the attention of those whose attentions spans have been compromised by digital devices.
What was starting a family in China like?
It is an amazing experience.
What is something you want to start?
I need to write my book about Chinese tea that I have been talking about for ten years…
Nancy Ren attends the international campus affiliated with Beijing No.4 High School, a public high school in Beijing. Through her blog posts, she hopes to share unique and exciting experiences at Beijing No.4 High School International Campus.
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Photos courtesy of Nancy Ren