By SONG ZIYAO and MINA CHEUNG
Xiao Wei received her bachelor’s degree from the Beijing Film Academy and her master’s degree from the Central Academy of Drama. During her doctoral studies, she taught acting and directing classes at the Beijing Dance Academy. Such study experience has long been entangled with her art creation and art education. In 2013, by chance, she embarked on a wonderful journey to meet the theater of “New Tsinghua Xuetang.” She said it was “love at first sight” and that she would “never regret it.” And just like that, she has remained.
When faced with some tempting job opportunities, she hesitated, but in the end she stayed.
“At first I was influenced by my parents and family," she said. "But then I realized that I really loved working on campus. I feel quite comfortable with teaching. More importantly, I have a natural respect and awe for teaching.”
Busy with teaching, preparing lessons, creating, rehearsing, writing academic monographs, reading English materials and attending workshops, she tried her best to keep exercising and keep fit despite the intensive work. She has been like this day after day and never allowed herself to rest.
“The excellence of students in Tsinghua poses the greatest challenge to teachers. I feel like I’m wasting their time if I’m not teaching them well enough. We must live up to their youth and live up to our mission.”
Many students from the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communications sign up for Professor Xiao's courses, both for the learning opportunities and the chance to take part in the creative process.
Compared with professional art colleges and universities, art education in comprehensive universities is quite different, which requires her to adjust her teaching concepts and teaching methods accordingly. After getting to know the artistic atmosphere at Tsinghua, Xiao Wei found that the students were much more active than she had expected. The positive communication atmosphere gave her great confidence. She felt that perhaps some interdisciplinary, distinctive, high-end and innovative art courses could be developed at Tsinghua university in the future.
"I appreciate every opportunity given by Prof. Xiao," said Jennifer Zhang, a TSJC student. "Since she knew I love to take pictures and edit videos on my phone, she gave me multiple chances to take pictures for her new play ‘Art’ and made me become the director of the trailer. As she is one of my favorite professors at Tsinghua, I wish her well in everything she does."
In the past, Xiao Wei loved to create and hoped to bring power to people through her work. Now, she still loves it, but in a different way: “As a teacher, my best work is my students.”
“My responsibility to each one of them is greater than my expectation of a piece of work,” she said.
This story was first published on the Tsinghua University Weixin feed to celebrate Teachers' Day 2021 in China.