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Lai Sha, best young teacher and athlete extraordinaire

Mar 6, 2019 Special Report

March 8 is International Women’s Day. To this end, we launched a special report on excellent female teachers in Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) to help everyone know more about their stories.

Lai Sha was once a member of the Chinese Sports Dance National Team. On joining SUSTech, she has been responsible for teaching a variety of university sports, sports dance and aerobics. Lai Sha has directed a number of student dancing associations, where they have earned numerous accolades in a diverse range of competitions. Her classes cover a wide range of dance styles and other athletic pursuits including aerobics and yoga. With her distinct set of classes, Lai Sha teaches nearly 2,000 students each year. She is a regular participant in cultural activities across campus.

Cultivating students' awareness of lifelong physical training

For college physical education, Lai Sha believed that besides regular physical education, it is necessary to cultivate students’ awareness of lifelong physical training. She is convinced that physical education is a lifelong pursuit that involves every aspect of our lives. It provides great benefit to our mental and physical health, so it should be a long-term habit for students.

Nowadays, SUSTech offers many different sports activities on campus. The activities include the Annual Sports Meeting, the College Street Dance Competition and the Cross-strait Student Baseball League. Lai Sha believes that these campus sports activities, combined with the physical education courses, can help students find a love for sports, which helps them develop good exercise habits and relax in their spare time. For Lai Sha, good physical education can greatly improve the mental and emotional state of college students, which creates benefits for their vitality and confidence.

Lai Sha pointed out that as a science and technology university, SUSTech has attached great importance to its arts education. Various art courses and community activities had taken place on campus, improving the artistic understanding of students and promoted their overall development

Teaching according to student interests

Opening a sports dance class at SUSTech is an unforgettable teaching experience. Lai Sha said she had to focus her teaching in a way that adjusted to students’ different dance abilities, as each student would have a different foundation in dance.

For students without a dance foundation, Lai Sha uses several methods to stimulate their interest. She will try and inspire them to find beauty and joy in dance to form an exercise habit. For those students who have had dance experience and skills, Lai Sha hopes they can help other students while improving themselves.

In order to explore the new "Internet+" teaching model, Lai Sha applied for the design of the "Sports Dance" online course in 2015 and put it into use in the spring 2017 semester. This combination of online and offline teaching methods enables students who do not have a dance foundation to lay a solid foundation through online learning and ultimately improve their dancing ability.

Lai Sha's teaching methodology makes her courses extremely active. Students are willing to communicate and laugh with her, with both physical exercise and new skills learned throughout the courses.

Lots of students like Lai Sha's sports dance class. Her courses maintain a high reputation among students, scoring 98 out of a possible 100 points from students, and her classes are regularly some of the first to fill up every semester. 2016 undergraduate student Zhao Ruoyan said that every class of Lai Sha is very rewarding. From start to finish, Lai Sha is patient and meticulous is  correcting students’ movements, while maintaining humor in pointing out errors. Her unique approach ensures that all students can make progress and enjoy themselves in a relaxed atmosphere.

Gain happiness when interact with students

Lai Sha is also responsible for training the SUSTech dance team and four student dance clubs. She coaches the Latin, Yoga, House Dance, and Street Dance clubs so they can attend various performances and competitions around China. The SUSTech dance team has won provincial championships on several occasions.

Lai Sha believes that SUSTech benefits from the efforts of its sports and dance teams. As a teacher, she knows well that practice makes perfect. Lai Sha constantly communicates with her students. She regards the students as "like-minded friends." This relationship between coach and students ensures that everyone works hard and their efforts pay off.

Lai Sha is a perfect representation of this self-discipline. In June 2018, she received the certificate of National Teacher of Sports Dance. Lai Sha has also received many awards throughout her college life and published some papers in provincial journals. As a national team member, she won two bronze medals. She was the first national sports dance professional athlete who was admitted to the graduate program. She said: "I felt happier when my students got awards than when I did. Having witnessed their success, I would never regret to be a teacher.”

Looking back to the past five-year life at SUSTech, Lai Sha is a veritable powerhouse of joy. Many students consider her as their sister or an intimate trustworthy friend. As a teacher, she believes that she gets more from her students than what she gives in her classes. In the future, Lai Sha hopes that the students can maintain their passions, always love sports, love to read, and strive to be successful.

Text: Liu Hui, Chen Wenjing, Zhang Jiachen, Student News Agency

Translated and adapted: Liu Jiaqi, Pan Anting

Proofread: Wu Yiqiu, Chris Edwards

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