March 30th, 2015
Dejing Kong, Sanda News Center
The warm Graffiti Wall – a Xinle Road old lane reformation project which aroused much attention from media including CCTV and Jiefang Daily has really made her popular. This activity is truly a microcosm of her ordinary but uncommon teaching career.
Wenli Fei is an instructor of the School of Fashion Education. She is quiet, amicable and beautiful like her name.
In the hearts of her students, she is sunny and is the positive energy. In the eyes of school leaders, she is an excellent instructor with diligence, great tolerance and an innovative spirit. To her, the students are just like her own children; she’s providing an opportunity to every child to help him grow.
Being a Good Advisor
Tao, a current junior, participated in the entire old lane reformation project, from the initial hearing, the discussions with relevant leaders to the creative design and the painting.He became the star figure of this charity activity.
Just a year ago, he was a naughty student with unsatisfactory grades and was often late for classes.Once he got a disciplinary warning and was immediately asked to go to Ms. Fei’s office.
Tao thought Ms. Fei would scold him, but to his surprise, Ms. Fei commended him for his courage. Since then, Tao has never been late.Moreover, he now actively participates in class activities and has made great progress in studies.During the Graffiti Wall project, he had to go home when his mother fell seriously ill.But after two days, he came back to the lane wall and persisted till the end.When interviewed, he said:”Before college, I didn’t know what college would be like; I thought it would just be eating, drinking and having fun every day.After meeting Ms. Fei, my college life has become the most beautiful and memorable for me.She has given me a great sense of achievement and many opportunities.”
To Ms. Fei, every student has his/her strengths.She thinks a good teacher should be able to see the merits of every student.There was a girl who was often absent from classes and would not turn in her homework.Ms. Fei kept calling her, her class-teacher and parents, asking her to come to classes and make up for her assignments.Later the girl express-mailed her homework to Ms. Fei and attached a letter which said:”Ms. Fei, you did not give up on a student me and cared for me again and again.You have touched my heart.I have decided to be a good student so I’ve made up for all my homework.” Seeing the letter, Ms. Fei was really moved, feeling that all she had done was worth the effort.
Every Student Should Have an Opportunity
For some time, whenever Tao and some classmates often late for classes stepped into the classroom, they would find Ms. Fei showing videos of fashion shows, then commenting on them and talking about new class materials. What had made Ms. Fei adjust her class arrangements? Later they realized, Ms. Fei has done this so students who are late won’t lag behind. Videos can be watched after class. The Taos still remember this.
When finding out the “Warm Graffiti Wall Project” will be further expanded, some who participated but quit in the middle asked to take part again. Ms. Fei first pointed out that in the most difficult times, they did not stay to accompany their friends. Now that it had become a famous project, they wanted to join it again. Ms. Fei welcomed them back in the end for she thinks we should allow students to make mistakes. Every student has his/her strengths. They should be given equal opportunities to grow up.
Vivid Lessons Filled with Case Studies
How does the biggest Australian media company promote its brand? What are the characteristics of fashion weeks in Paris and Milan? How do luxury Italian men’s clothing brands design their products? Ms. Fei who worked for many years abroad likes to use case studies in class teaching, which the students really enjoy. “To teach Sanda students, we should combine moral education with skills development, so our students can find good jobs after graduation.”
Besides combining theory with practice in class, Ms. Fei often takes the students on visits and internships to enterprises. For example, the Graffiti Wall charity project was a winter vacation social practice activity. Through her own connections, Ms. Fei has found shopping guide’s work for another group of students at JeansWest, giving them hands-on marketing experiences in the clothing market.
This semester, Ms. Fei has opened up a course called “Store Management”, which she thinks will be very useful now that many students have had some corporate intern experiences. Combined with her own research areas (garment marketing and brand management), Ms. Fei has also taken on a bilingual class of “fashion buyers”. She told us it is a very popular class newly introduced into China. Facts suggest students hope this course will be available every year.
One minute at the lectern is 10 years of preparation work. Since 2012, Ms. Fei has taught at least 10 various courses and is truly popular among students because of her rich personal experiences and conscientious teaching preparation every day.
“Students have touched me.”
During the more than three years of teaching, Ms. Fei feels most strongly about this past Warm Graffiti Wall charity project. In the beginning students thought it was just for graffiti, so they participated as “princesses” and “princes” without self-discipline, expecting their teacher to provide for everything.
Ms. Fei was with the students every day, constantly buying materials, giving medicine to the sick, providing warm tea in the afternoon and giving guidance in the painting. Encouraged and inspired by Ms. Fei, the students withstood the shabby conditions and rumors and learnt to take care of each other. Finally 7 original design works from class made the old lane wall completely changed anew. “The old lane was dark so the students painted with torch lights. Seeing them grow little by little, the spirit of willpower and persistence deeply infected me. Our relationship surpassed that between instructor and students. They are just like my children.”
Some parents saw their children working hard on the wall and felt really happy about this. One parent said:”I didn’t know what my daughter could do after graduation. Her techniques were not better than others. But she has done so marvelously in this charity activity. I feel more confident about my child now.” To Ms. Fei, every student is excellent. Sanda students may not have the best foundation but they are eager to learn. If once doesn’t work, then paint multiple times. There will be progress each time and this is the most important.
Every day having interaction with the students, Ms. Fei felt really enriched and all the more, touched. March 5th was Ms. Fei’s birthday. It was a cold drizzling day in Shanghai. It was very dark but no one went home. When Ms. Fei came back after some negotiations about the Warm Wall, what happened was just like what was on TV. Everybody had a candle in his/her hand singing Happy Birthday together. Mr. Fei recalled:”I was so touched that day, the most meaningful birthday in my 30s. I was pleasantly surprised. My students really were so considerate…”
Translated By Wei Ding