From China to Thailand to UPA: How Yuqing Xia’s Love For Teaching Formed

Xia’s teaching experience through the years

Inspired by the rest of her family, most of whom were educators, math teacher Yuqing Xia has known she wanted to be a teacher since childhood. 

She grew up speaking Mandarin, learned English, and found herself excelling in her academics.

She considered her childhood to be a happy one, as she spent her time playing table tennis and instruments such as the flute. Over time, she indulged in more hobbies, and her current interests include playing guitar, traveling, swimming and doing yoga when she is not teaching. She also enjoys snowboarding during winter.

Yuqing Xia on a ski lift while snowboarding in Lake Tahoe in Mar. 2020. (Photo courtesy of Yuqing Xia.)

After her childhood in China, Xia went to Thailand where she taught for six months. There, she participated in an internship program, in which she taught English and Chinese to Thai students. 

“That experience forced me to want to learn more about teaching,” Xia said. “I wanted to explore more [about] how to teach English or Chinese or math to students because I don’t speak Thai and the students don’t speak Chinese.”

Her interest in teaching math grew when she noticed that many students struggle with and often dislike math. Xia is confident in her abilities to teach math since she has a lot of experience with the subject from her education in China.

“By using my skills, I want to try to help these kids fall in love with math and change their mindset,” Xia said. “That’s the reason why I started teaching math.” 

Xia poses for a picture during Columbia College’s costume day, in which students wear clothes from their home country. (Photo courtesy of Yuqing Xia.)

Xia attended Harbin University, a university in China, where she got her bachelors degree in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. Upon moving to the US for her postgraduate studies, she attended the University of Southern California, where she got a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Xia did another internship program during college, where she taught at an elementary school near USC.

“It was my first time to co-teach, or to be a teacher’s assistant in America,” Xia said. “It was my first job outside of China and it’s given me a lot of ideas because the teacher always created lots of activities and tried to engage all the students.” 

Xia has found working at UPA to be enjoyable. She describes the environment as pleasant and collaborative. She chose to work here due to UPA’s admirable reputation, and how it seems more focused on academics than other schools. Additionally, she appreciates the encouraging environment created by the staff.

“All the staff is super supportive,” Xia said. “I’m teaching math and I’m new to the school, and a lot of math department teachers give me a lot of help. The kids are very nice; they are eager to learn.”

Xia loves teaching middle school students because they are in a transitional period between elementary and high school. 

“They are still exploring the world,” Xia said. “They are very cute and they always ask a lot of questions.”

While being a middle school math teacher at UPA, Xia hopes to pique students’ interest in learning while also pushing her students to achieve success.

“[What] I hope to achieve is to make my content more vivid, and more interactive to make students love learning,” Xia said. “And also I have a math support class, and I want to close the gap between the math support students and normal class students. And for the high achieving students, I want to push them moreto challenge themselves more.”