Zuogong County is located in southeastern Tibet, China. It covers three towns, seven townships, and 127 administrative villages. The whole county has only one middle school, Zuogong County Middle School.
Su Xin is the headmaster of Zuogong County Middle School. He is from Liang Shan, Sichuan Province. His wife, Gan Runmei is also from Sichuan. She is now an English teacher at the school. They both came to Tibet to teach after graduating from university in 2001. In 18 years, the school has changed a lot.
Zuogong County Middle School.
When they first came to the school, over a hundred students could only speak Tibetan. Su Xin spent a month learning Tibetan and teaching students Mandarin Chinese so they could communicate. The farthest township, Bitu Township, is more than 160 kilometers from the county seat. In the past, it took students three days to walk to school.
“We had only one teaching building at that time, students and teachers lived in a shed instead of a dormitory. If it rained, we needed to put two buckets on the television and bed to catch water,” said Gan.
With the help of the government, asphalt roads were paved and the school's condition improved. Students in Tibet can obtain a traffic cash allowance from the government. The traffic cash allowance is to make sure students can arrive at school no matter how far they live from the school.
Also, students will be protected by local policemen during their way to school or home. After four periods of construction, the school now has 15 school buildings and a standard playground. More parents have come to recognize the importance of education, so the number of students in Zuogong County Middle School has increased to more than 1,500.
Mr. Su Xin is the headmaster of Zuogong County Middle School.
Due to the long distance between home to school, most students can only go home once a semester. Teachers at school in Tibet need to take care of all aspects of their students' lives. “We are not only the students’ teachers, but also their parents,” said Gan.
In these 18 years, seven of Su and Gan's students have become headmasters in Tibet.
Meanwhile, It is a pity that the couple can't stay with their children and parents back in Sichuan. There are fewer than 100 days in a year that they can all be together.
Gan Runmei is the headmaster’s wife, an English teacher.
But it is because of a group of people like them spending more time with students instead of family that education in remote areas can improve.
In Zuogong County Middle School, there are 123 teachers from 13 different provinces.
There are more than 1000 students in Zuogong County.
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