Wang Zhewei is one of the winners of Shandong University Excellent Teacher Award of 2017. In his Wechat moments, a question goes like this, "Why does one still need to be kind if kindness is not always rewarded?" It is answered with a quote from Václav Havel, reading "Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good." This Q&A demonstrates Wang Zhewei's basic life philosophy, that is, to be a good person and to do the right things.
Wang Zhewei, currently a professor at the School of Economics graduated from Shandong University of Finance and Economics in 2005 and then continued his study at the University of Edinburgh for master's and doctor's degrees. After receiving his Ph.D degree in 2010, he started teaching at Shandong University. In the past few years, he has been awarded the Distinguished Young Scholar of Shandong Province, Distinguished Young Scholar of Cyrus Tang Foundation and Shandong University Excellent Teacher, etc. Among all the honors he has received, Shandong University Excellent Teacher of the Year is what he cares most because he sees it as a recognition of not just his scientific and research achievements, but more importantly, his teaching ability.
Three Basic Elements of An Excellent Teacher
What makes a teacher excellent? Three elements are essential according to Wang Zhewei. He first made it clear that an excellent teacher should be able to give excellent classes. This can be understood from two aspects. First, a teacher needs to make sure that the classes are concise and interesting so that students will participate actively. Second, a teacher should make the classes students-centered, designing classes according to their comprehension ability.
Wang Zhewen used an analogy to make his points clear. For instance, a teacher standing on the 10th floor of a building shouted and waved to his students who were on the ground floor and said, "Come upstairs quickly and enjoy the beautiful view here." It's impossible for the students to jump onto the 10th floor within a second, even if they wanted to. Finally they would end up losing confidence and interest. In Wang Zhewei's opinion, no matter how high a teacher stands, he should always take into account the specific situations of students, in that case, descending to the 2nd floor to give them a hand, leading or guiding them so that students can climb up the ladders step by step, until they become genuinely interested in study and research. Wang Zhewei believes that a class is excellent only when it is able to fully arouse students' interest and ensure a comprehensive, holistic and profound understanding of what they have learned on the students' part. A teacher is excellent only when he can put himself in the position of students and take into consideration their specific situations.
Wang Zhewei then said an excellent teacher should also "have strong scientific research ability". For him, scientific research fills up over half of his working schedule. According to him, scientific research and teaching promote each other. If a teacher excels in scientific research, it means he is doing cutting-edge research in a certain area, which allows him to make connections among different areas of knowledge. Therefore, he is able to give more in-depth explanation of basic knowledge than what the textbooks provide and thus expand the textbooks. Besides, teachers with strong scientific research ability can better supervise graduate students and cultivate their research ability.
In addition, Wang Zhewei said an excellent teacher should also make his classes "full of positive energy", and give students positive guidance on their views of life and values. Instead of criticizing and complaining about the problems and imperfections in our society, it's better to face these problems and focus more on passing positive energy to students, so that they can engage in society with passion and confidence and make the world a better place.
We Were All Young and Hesitating
Thanks to his fruitful achievements in scientific research, Wang Zhewei was promoted to professor in 2016, which was quite extraordinary for a 34-year-old. As a young teacher, he likes reading books and watching films when he is free from work. He is a fan of the SciFicThe Three Body Problem, just like many other young people. He also speaks highly ofDangalandDunkirk, two films that hit the cinemas just recently. He easily relates to college students, as he once faced the similar choices and had similar confusions and hesitations.
At the very start, Wang Zhewei chose to be a teacher out of a rational planning for his career, rather than fondness. Seven years passed and he now finds himself deeply in love with this career. "Only a very small percentage of people are lucky enough to find what they love to do at the early stage of their life. Most of us, by contrast, gradually develop interests in our jobs during the process of doing them." Apart from researching economic theories and applications that ask for rigorousness and professionalism, Wang Zhewei also enjoys studying economic phenomena in daily life and analyzing and predicting the price trends of some markets. "Whether I had predicted it right or not, I feel happy, different kinds of happiness though, because it is such a happy thing to apply knowledge in daily life."
Wang Zhewei hopes his experiences will inspire the current college students. "First of all you should try your best to do things you need to do." Even if you don’t like your major or your job at present, it does not matter, because it takes time and perseverance for us to find out if we are really interested in something. So let's "first try to make it work, and then perhaps we can find the right answers we have long been searching for."
Before the interview drew to an end, he urged again that "University time is a golden period for acquiring and accumulating knowledge, and students are supposed to set up goals for themselves and try hard to do what they need to do. It is sensible that we adjust our goals according to changes of personal interests and comprehension abilities, but we must never live our life with having them."
Translated by Zi Hanyue
Edited by Zhao Yanping, Zhang Xinyuan