Gretl—her English name—is one of the newest students in our master’s program, and she takes the prize for a couple firsts. She is our first student taking courses from her home in China, and she is also the first student—and likely the only one ever—with an undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine.
After earning her degree in 2008, Gretl worked for nine months as a lab assistant in a Key Laboratory of Preventative Veterinary Medicine at the China Agricultural University. “Like most of the Chinese graduate students, I didn’t really know what I should do. Most students will either get a master’s degree or try to go abroad to study for a PhD. I was just blindly following everybody else.”
But her life was to take a very different turn. It began when she met MLC alumni teaching English during her college years. She became close friends with them, and from them she learned about MLC.
When her job as a lab assistant was not satisfying—she remembers experiments that didn’t work, no matter how hard she tried—she realized that her calling was to teach. She enrolled at MLC to study for her degree in elementary education, but twice her application for a visa was rejected.
Undeterred, she began volunteering at an English school and orphanage. A new task was placed before her when the orphanage staff asked her to take a 1-1/2 year old boy to Israel to have heart surgery. “I was being a single mom for this orphan boy in Israel. I witnessed so many miracles happen on this baby boy. He was condemned to death by the doctor because his heart problem was just so serious; however, his life was saved! He was adopted by an American family and lives in Minneapolis!” Gretl says this experience is a mark carved deeply on her heart and her soul, and it gave her courage in her own journey.
When she came back to China, she became the official Chinese manager at the English school and soon took on teaching duties as well. She now is employed at three different schools, where she teaches second grade science bilingually, seventh and eighth grade science bilingually, and ninth grade biology in English.
“The more I teach, the more limits I see in myself,” she says. “I know I need to be trained so I can serve better and in a more professional way. I trust MLC and know that MLC will equip me.
“I love my first course, Designing Classroom Instruction,” she continues, “because it already is starting to make my preparation for class much more efficient and easier than before. Before, I was trying hard to cover all the content in the unit; then my class plan became a meaningless mess. However, since I started to follow the thought of this course, my time used to prepare class is much less, and I am starting to focus on what students should learn and understand rather than how much I can cover. I really want to finish this awesome program. Then I can use what I learned from MLC to help more Chinese children and parents.”