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Faculty Profile: Wenhao Han, Middle School Mandarin Teacher

Wenhao Han is our Middle School Mandarin teacher, he also teaches coding at the Middle School, and serves on the dorm team in Bellingrath. This is Wenhao's first year at Rabun Gap. He holds a Masters in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from Shandong University. Wenhao comes to Rabun Gap from Virgil I. Grissom School in New York where he taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to elementary students. He has taught ESL and Mandarin for two years and has worked internationally in India and Australia. In his free time, Wenaho enjoys hiking, cooking Chinese food, and weight lifting.

How long have you been working at Rabun Gap?
I have been working at Rabun Gap since August 2022. It's been half a year now.

What made you choose to work at Rabun Gap?
I mentioned during my orientation for new teachers that I lived in New York State and I don't like living in a big city. The traffic flow I faced every morning on my commute gave me a headache. Life at Rabun Gap is the exact opposite of what I had before. I have the option to live on campus and it only takes five minutes to commute. This allows me to arrive at school every day in a good mood.

What did you do before coming to Rabun Gap?
Before coming to Rabun Gap, I taught TESOL and Chinese in Rochester, NY, while pursuing a master's degree in education at the University of Rochester.

What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
Before I submitted my resume to Rabun Gap, I opened the website. The beautiful mountain scenery on the homepage immediately attracted me. I told myself that I would like to work in this place.

What is your favorite aspect of being a dorm parent?
Being a dorm parent makes me feel like I'm back in my teenage years. The vibes of these students make me feel like I am one of them too. I'm happy when they win a game and sad when they lose. Also, as a dorm parent, helping students solve difficult problems in the study hall, especially math problems, gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I want to do as much as possible in my life to make it meaningful. Whenever I teach students, whether I teach them a sentence in Mandarin or a programming method or share a story of mine with them, I can't help but wonder whether this knowledge will be helpful in their future lives. Will it benefit students? Many years later, when students use this knowledge, will they think of me? It makes me very fulfilled. This is also the most important reason why I decided to become a teacher.

Tell us about the coding program.
The programming project was just introduced to Rabun Gap this year. This is an adaptive programming course for teens where we partnered with Disney. Students can choose the appropriate difficulty level and complete programming projects based on their knowledge of computer science. In addition to this, Rabun Gap also purchased a batch of robots suitable for programming teaching with the support of STEAM Director Dr. Renken. Next year, we will let students use their programming knowledge to control robots and complete more exciting and useful projects.

What do you like most about working with our students?  
My favorite thing about working with our students is the respect and love that comes from them. I am needed and loved by my students and it makes my day-to-day work bliss.

What is your favorite memory from the time you have worked here so far?
I celebrated my twenty-seventh birthday in the second week of this school year. Since I'm a new teacher, I didn't expect to be blessed by my students. When I entered the dining hall, more than 100 students from the entire school sang the birthday song to me. I will never forget this birthday.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
On my first day in Rabun Gap, I gave five minutes for students to ask questions about me. A student asked me what instrument I usually play. I can only answer with embarrassment that I don't know any musical instruments. But that is about to change. I purchased a Chinese Pipa and am about to start practicing. I hope to use it to play traditional Chinese music to my students some day.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.