Lin Chiun Pei

Lin Chiun Pei is STA’s Mandarin teacher and she has recently moved back to her hometown of Taipei, Taiwan. She teaches classes completely online to students thousands of miles away every day while also juggling taking care of her daughter and managing her own personal life.


Lin and her daughter Nov 8. Her daughter is in second grade.

by Megan Turley, Facebook Editor

What was the transition like moving from America to Taiwan?
I have my work in the US and my life, [my] family life in Taiwan with 13 hours difference. That’s a big change for me because I’m trying to spend time with my family, and try to get my work done and still try to teach my students. I’m awake most of the time [and] I don’t get much sleep.

What made you want to continue to work at STA?
The reason I want to stay here … is I found the people here really nice. And I have to say Mrs. McCormick and also people in my department. They are very supportive. As you know, I have been teaching online for two years, unlike all the other teachers who can do face-to-face, and they have a lot more obligations and [duties] in school and I don’t. It’s all because they support me. I found in my teaching career, I don’t get that kind of support everywhere.

What do you like most about teaching Mandarin?
Because this is the language that I [have] been speaking for my whole life. So I have the confidence to use the language. And I have taught this language for 16-17 years. So I have the experience, and I was majoring in Chinese literature and bilingual education [in college]. So this is my professional field.

How has this move impacted your personal life?
I think, mentally, I think it’s actually made me really happy because I’ve been wanting to spend time with my original family, which is my parents. I feel like I’ve been away from home, which I still consider home, even though I don’t live there anymore. And for those important Chinese holidays, like Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival, you’re supposed to spend time with your family, and I couldn’t because I’m always far away from them. So this move actually fulfilled my dream. I have been wanting to spend time with my parents and wanting to celebrate those holidays with them and I want to spend time with them when they are still healthy.

What does your day-to-day schedule look like?
I teach from about 10:15 p.m. which is your first class and sometimes I have students during LEAD time so I will start [teaching] as early as 9:30 p.m. and teach until around midnight or 1:00 a.m.. Then, I will work like grading papers and do lesson plans until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. then I’ll go to sleep for two-three hours maybe; then wake up around or before 7:00 a.m. and get my daughter dressed, and put lotion and medicine on her and eat a little breakfast. Then, around 9:00 a.m. I’ll go back to sleep if I don’t have any other obligations.

Do you feel you’re still able to connect with students?
I think I’m able to—I’m trying to—I should say, I try very hard to connect with all of my students. But you know, there are always people. You have to find the right channel to connect with each other. And sometimes it takes a long time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can find that channel in one or two years. If you can’t, at least you tried. So I always try my best, so I don’t feel regret that I didn’t do my best.

What’s been your greatest challenge teaching online?
Well, there are a lot of challenges, and I think first of all you have to keep students interested in you, because we’re so far away from each other. I know it’s very easy for a student to switch to a different website or they might be looking at Instagram when I’m actually talking. So I have to actually keep everybody’s focus on me. I have to use different strategies like talking in a different tone of voice or like acting, actually. Now I’m not really teaching, it’s more like I’m acting.

Do you miss anything in America?
I do miss the people in America, a lot of my friends have actually become kind of like my family.I knew a stay-at-home mom. She lives in Phoenix and I haven’t seen her very regularly since I moved to Kansas City. But still [I] had contact because the timezone is the same. So we called each other, but now it’s hard to talk to her and I had great neighbors and students, and I miss seeing you guys face to face.