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View From Vis: Meet Chinese Teacher Priscilla Van Sloun

Ms. Van Sloun is one of the Chinese teachers here at Vis. Let's get to know her a little better!

Ms. Van Sloun received her B.A. in English from TamKang University in Taipei, Taiwan. She has over 20 years of experience working with young children and adults who studied English or Chinese as a second language. She has a passion for teaching the Chinese language and culture.

1. How long have you been teaching Chinese here at Vis, and what grades do you teach?
I've completed 13 years of teaching Chinese courses at Vis. For almost 10 years, I had taught all grades from Montessori Pre-K to 12th grade. Starting a few years ago, I began teaching only Lower and Upper School students. 

If you ask me what grades I love to teach the most, you can imagine that I will say that I love to teach all grades. Because it’s so true that no matter what ages the students are, they bring different kinds of engagements, communication and joy to me. I truly enjoy teaching and love my students; and that’s why these 13 years have gone by so fast. I still have a fresh and exciting feeling going to work everyday! 

2. What are the highlights of Visitation's Chinese program?
I am the first Chinese teacher at Vis, and for so many years, my goal has not changed. It has always been not only to teach my students about the Chinese language, but most importantly, to focus on guiding students to open their minds to better understand Taiwanese/Chinese people and culture. 

I always like to encourage my students to learn, to make good judgments, and to bring other perspectives into their lives. I want them not only to enjoy the culture they are currently surrounded by, but to also appreciate Far East cultures so they can choose the best practices for themselves and live a healthy and well-balanced life.

“Memorization and testing” will never be my approach. I would like to see my students learn because of their passion and devotion to obtain advanced knowledge and skills.  

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I can sense that the school administration team always trusts me. They give me enough flexibility to teach my students according to their needs, not just to meet deadlines or standard curriculum requirements. I love that I have the flexibility to support and guide each one of my students based on their needs. I am trying to teach them “not for school, but for life.” 

It’s so awesome to walk in the hallway and hear my Lower School students shout out happily and naturally, “Ni Hao! Chen Laoshi!” (“Hello, teacher Chen!”); I am also very pleased to talk to my Upper School students, or students who already graduated, about their ongoing Chinese studies in college or in Taiwan or China. One graduate is going to apply for a Chinese teaching position. If she gets it, she will be my first student to become a Chinese teacher at a high school. 

4. What do you see as "the Vis difference"? 
Vis has a safe and friendly learning environment as well as caring teachers and staff. In addition, because Vis is a smaller school, the Vis community naturally forms a great team. We, the students, families, faculty and staff, all work well together and make great efforts to make the school a better place. We want to take care of our students’ needs in every way possible. At the same time, students get great opportunities to learn how to be kind, strong, open-minded, caring, independent and supportive. 

Vis also adapts to changes well quickly. During the pandemic, Vis has not only maintained its beautiful virtues, but the school was willing to make the necessary changes to adapt to the new circumstances.  

Vis is truly a very well-balanced school, not only in spirituality and academics, but also in technology. 

5. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Since I am so far away from my hometown of Taiwan, I always enjoy making some Taiwanese food to ease my craving for authentic Chinese food. 

I started my YouTube Food Channel last year. Since I love taking photos and making films, I enjoy using my spare time to work on filming, editing and doing voice-over for my Youtube videos. Plus, it’s not just a food channel because I always share Chinese culture and history in my videos. It’s really a fun and meditative activity for me. 

If you are interested in watching my videos, here is the information: 

My YouTube channel name
Priscilla’s joyful kitchen notes or 萍萍譜食樂 

6. What do you like to read?
I love to read books about food, traveling, and gardening. In addition, I especially enjoy reading and studying the origins of Chinese proverbs and some historical and cultural books. 

I love Chinese language and culture. I find Chinese wisdom and philosophy really deep. I would love to spend more time relearning those topics. 

Over the years, I’ve learned so much from ancient Chinese history and stories. Even after thousands of years, the truth about life and human struggles remains the same. So, it’s so interesting and rewarding to me to rediscover eternal rules of life.

Life is short! I enjoy finding new ways for me to enjoy my life well!

Thank you to Mrs. Van Sloun for sharing your thoughts! We are #visproud!