Zeng Xiangwei, a villager who’s been working for 38 years as the headmaster and sole teacher at a primary school in rural Hunan, has inspired across the web. Announcing that he would be retiring in four years, he welcomed reporters to document his life in a lovely photo story featured on QQ News. Take a look.
In the Yao minority village of Hunan province, Two-Wheeled Bicycle School stands alone in the middle of a rice field. There are only 13 students in the small school, and 56-year-old Zeng has watched over them as an educator and headmaster for the past 38 years.
Originally a warehouse built in the 1950s, the building was transformed into a modest dirt-floor school in the 60s.
Zeng can be seen patiently helping one of his students do her homework. He prepares all the lessons for his students in the old classroom and teaches all the courses himself.
Zeng has crafty hands with which he creates Chinese bamboo flutes and teaches students about paper folding.
Most of the students are “left-behind” children. During a classroom break, Zeng joins them as they run around outside.
Zang says jumping rope with his students is one of his favorite activities, and he gets a kick out of seeing his students squeal with delight as they play.
The land in front of the classroom is the only area for Zeng and his students to partake in outdoor activities. He hopes the school can get a basketball court in the future.
The old classroom has crumbled away past the point of repair before Zang’s eyes. He hopes to move to a new school as to provide his students with a safer learning environment.
The entrance at the doorway has become smooth after being trampled on over the past 38 years. Throughout his whole career, Zeng has taught more than 600 students, 10 of whom have gone on to study at universities. Almost everyone in the village has studied in school with Mr. Zeng.
The book reference area is located at the back of the classroom. All the teaching materials are saved there as well. Zeng continually wonders if there will be any new teacher willing to replace him after his retirement in four years.
Zeng cleans the classroom inside and outside every morning. He hopes a new teacher will be able to teach the kids English and computer skills, as he wasn’t able to. He would also like to see a library equipped with computers. If this could be realized, he said, he could retire happily.
After school, Zeng tends to his three acres of rice field.
Whenever the village satellite has a bad connection, the handyman Zeng has to test and fix it. He said nearly all the satellite TVs in the village are maintained and adjusted by him.
At dawn, Zeng heads home carrying chickens that were sent to eat food near the river. He receives a phone call from his daughter who just got out of work and his fatigue seems to lessen slightly as he talks to her on the phone.
Zeng was nominated as one of the best village teachers in Hunan last year. He prominently displays the trophy in his house.
Zeng is seen checking homework under the light while his grandson watches nearby. His son and daughter are making a living in another city. His grandchildren were left for him and his wife to take care of.
Zeng had walked with his students on this very field for 38 years. He said he’d never regretted staying for so long.
By Lucy Liu
[images via Tencent news ]