Fellow Profile: Yolanda Qin
Candidate, Master in Information Science at UNC-Chapel Hill
I am inspired by the openness and curiosity of TeachHouse fellows to engage with new ideas and experiences, such as through learning more about education in the exploring of important issues related to our work or appreciating the people and experiences around us. There is an inspiring mindset and motivation to learn more, engage, and relate what we are learning to our classrooms, fields of work and study, and personal lives.
Yolanda Qin was a TeachHouse Resident Fellow from 2016 to 2018 and a Non-Resident Fellow from 2018 to 2020. She is a current student in the University of North Carolina's Information Science Masters Program. She received her B.A. in Public Policy and Minor in Education from Duke in 2016. Yolanda taught third grade for three years at Hillandale Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina. She is from Memphis, Tennessee.
Different teachers - including beginning teachers! - have so much wisdom in their different styles and personal practices. It was helpful to learn from other teachers and see a different perspective; it was also encouraging to have other teachers appreciate the value in my ideas and challenge me to try them out more!
What was an impactful moment from your time in the classroom?
Some of the most special and impactful moments was hearing my students share their stories, thoughts, and ideas, and engage with one another. In my classroom, I used a practice called “responsive classroom” which encourages discussion and engagement between students. An application of this would be a daily morning meeting. Students loved this part of their day because they got to share their stories and ask questions or comment on one another’s shares. For instance, I had a student who had recently arrived from China and was an English language learner; she used different ways such as words or pictures and eventually complete sentences to share about her unique experiences, while other students asked her questions and learned more about Chinese culture and language. I had students from many other backgrounds and experiences too, and this simple morning meeting practice was a great chance for us all to learn from each other and grow from these dialogues. This practice transferred into academics too, for instance, in narrative writing, students had the chance to share their brainstorming ideas, their developing work, and their final presentations, while providing feedback to one another. My students benefited personally, relationally and academically by being curious and considerate of other people’s stories and getting the chance to share their own stories.