While it is Ms. Rodriguez’s first year teaching at Jesuit, she is very excited to start and develop the Mandarin course while also teaching an English II class. For years, introducing a Mandarin course has been a goal of Mr. Waits and Ms. Klickman, the co-chairs of the Language department, and now they are finally able to see their dream come into fruition.
Ms. Rodriguez became involved with the Chinese language during her time served in the military. After high school, she enlisted and took an aptitude test for language, and she discovered that Chinese was the best fit for her. Before joining the military, she had little knowledge or interest in Mandarin, but soon appreciated it and wanted to continue developing her skills as a Mandarin speaker. After serving in the military, Ms. Rodriguez decided to attend Georgetown University to further study the language.
Since this is not her first year teaching Mandarin, Ms. Rodriguez’s plans to exceed the basic education of Chinese at a high school level. She explained to her students that they will study the basics of Mandarin like pinyin, tones, and stroke order for writing characters.
Pinyin, or Hanyu Pinyin, is the official system for writing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet. Along with these basics the students will also learn to speak about their interests and family. In addition to learning the language, Ms. Rodriguez plans to study a lot of Chinese culture because “the history and culture are just as important as the language.”
Besides the introduction of this new course, Ms. Rodriguez also plans on starting a Chinese club to help the development of the new program and increase student interest in the language.
Patrick Rodenbaugh ’18 said, “[I] decided to take Mandarin because I took spanish for six years at my old school and didn’t learn much and wanted a change.” Patrick is excited to continue learning the language so he can communicate in Mandarin to his brother who has lived in China for seven years. After just a few weeks, Patrick says, “the class is moving a lot faster than expected, but it’s still very fun.” Before long, he hopes that he will be able to speak complete, coherent, sentences and understand others as they speak Mandarin.
As the Mandarin program begins, Ms. Rodriguez has hopes for the future. She anticipates the program to turn into a three level course and is very confident the interest in the language will grow as more people hear about it. Ms. Rodriguez says learning Mandarin now would be a good choice for students because it is becoming a “much more marketable and interesting language for upcoming times.”