Teaching and Life: A Journey from Shanghai to San Francisco

A woman in a white blouse and dark jeans stands on a city street, with a restaurant and pedestrians in the background. She carries herself with the calm confidence of an instructor, ready to engage minds and inspire learning.

“I’m a 34-year-old teacher living in San Francisco. My days are usually filled with a mix of classroom chaos and moments of quiet reflection. I teach history at a local high school, and I love it, despite the occasional stress and endless grading. Growing up in Shanghai, I always had a passion for learning and sharing knowledge, which naturally led me to teaching. I moved to the U.S. for college, got my degree in education, and decided to stay. I start my mornings early with a hot cup of jasmine tea, something I picked up from my grandmother. She always said it helps clear the mind. Breakfast is usually light, maybe some congee with pickled vegetables, which reminds me of home. My schedule is pretty irregular, with after-school activities and tutoring sessions, but I always try to make time for a good meal. My partner, Alex, works in tech, and we often find ourselves comparing our vastly different work worlds. He jokes that my job is way harder because I deal with ‘bugs’ that talk back. We both share a love for cooking and trying new recipes. Weekends are our time to explore the city’s food markets or experiment with new dishes at home. I recently tried making baozi, which turned out surprisingly well. I try to stay healthy, but I won’t lie; there are days when a slice of chocolate cake is the only thing that can turn my day around. Dinner is my favorite meal because it’s when I can really relax and unwind. I love making a big pot of hot and sour soup, especially on cooler evenings. One thing I’ve learned is that teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge; it’s about connecting with students and making a difference in their lives. It’s challenging, but seeing a student finally ‘get it’ makes it all worth it. My favorite local dish has to be the San Francisco-style clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. It’s a perfect blend of flavors, and the bread soaks up the chowder just right.”

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