Yunshang Liu

A desire to show children the “beauty” of maths and science – and to follow in her father’s footsteps – inspired Yunshang Liu to become a teacher.

“There are many significant people in my life who are teachers, such as my father,” Yunshang says. “I think they helped me to become who I am and who I want to be. Also, I have great passion for mathematics and science, and I want to show the beauty of these subjects to young people.”

Now, she has a creative plan to introduce students to STEM subjects – kicking off her lessons by drawing manga characters.

The Japanese art of manga appeals to Yunshang, who wants to incorporate the unique comic style into her teaching.

“I like drawing manga characters and reading books,” she says. “Drawing helps me in teaching because students become more interested in my lessons; they can get to know me as a person, and I can form a closer relationship with them.”

Yunshang entered the UNSW Foundation Program and was awarded a scholarship to come from China to UNSW, to study a combined Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Science.

“I was attracted to the combined program, unlike other universities which had separate programs and would take longer,” she says.

She highlights the importance of the relationships she built with her classmates and lecturers, as well as her professional placements, which instilled the need for good communication skills.

“I learnt that effective communication is essential for collaboration among colleagues, and even when you are working on your own,” she says. “Also, as a teacher, I need to prepare well ahead for unexpected situations and to be flexible with lesson plans.”

During a placement at Burwood Girls High School, Yunshang soaked up tips from her colleagues on classroom management.

“My supervising teacher talked to me in a comfortable and encouraging way because she knew how valuable confidence is for a teacher like me who is starting out,” she says.

Yunshang is already using her skills, working in a tutoring institution teaching science and maths. She is also looking for casual teaching jobs in secondary schools.

She enjoys living in Australia, especially the blue skies, beautiful beaches and wonderful night views of Sydney.

“I also like the people in this city – most are kind, friendly and polite,” she says. “I would recommend other international students to come, because I believe they will have a memorable experience here.”

Dominique Pendleton