Gao Shiying is a college instructor. She has taught the ideological and political course, which focuses on political theories, for more than a decade. She is admired and respected by her students. Not only does she teach in class on campus, she also explains Marxism theory during off-school activities, including online communications and at social events. Gao's husband, Li Guangze, works in the aerospace industry. The couple derives happiness and honor from serving their country, and society as a whole. They are determined to help advance their motherland's development.
A teacher who holds her beliefs firmly, gives ideological and political lectures online or offline, inside or outside school. Adhering to the 'four confidences' (confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics), you work with honesty and a great love, as you help college students walk a nice step before they enter society." Gao recalls those comments, which she received in 2020, from the review committee that nominated her as a "moving CUST personnel" of Changchun University of Science and Technology (CUST).
Gao teaches at CUST's School of Marxism. She gives a series of lectures, entitled "Seek." Her lectures have been posted online, reported by several media outlets, and have inspired college students, and people from all segments of society, to think about the power of holding a belief, and to think about measures to "seek" the Chinese spirit in the new era.
Gao's lectures, which focus on the theme "Seek," were produced in 2019 by the publicity department of CUST's Party committee and the university's School of Marxism. More than one million people have studied the course online. "Seek" has become a popular online course among college students. "The course gives me a great sense of happiness, because I have fulfilled my value of being an ideological and political course teacher. I am proud of it!" Gao says.
After Gao was asked by her school to teach the online course, "Seek," she became nervous. Why? She was familiar with giving in-class lectures, but she was not sure about how to record a course and make it appealing to online viewers. "I was used to communicating with my students, who attended the course in an actual classroom. But what would I talk about during an online course? How would I give a lecture that met the approval of viewers on the Internet?" Gao wondered. As she sought answers to those questions, Gao recalled a question raised by a student. "What can we, as college students, do if a war happens?" Gao says the primary goal of an ideological and political course should be to teach students how to deal with real problems. Bearing that aspiration in mind, Gao integrated ideological and political theories with remarkable stories, taken from revolutionary wartime.
In one of her lectures, Gao told the story of a heroine mother, Zhong Zhaozi, who had 10 sons. Zhong asked eight of her sons to join the Long March. After her sons were gone, Zhong lit a barn lantern, every night, as she waited for her sons to return from the hard journey. The mother missed her sons, and she cried considerably. Eventually, she lost her sight. But she kept lighting the lantern, hoping her sons would one day find their way back home. When soldiers of the People's Liberation Army visited Zhong's home, in 1949, they told her all eight of her sons had died during the revolution. Gao was moved by Zhong's story, and Gao hoped her students would learn from Zhong — the heroine mother who encouraged her sons to join the revolution — the importance of contributing one's strength to support the liberation of the motherland.
"More than 100 years ago, the early group of Marxists were able to explain clearly 'what Marxism is' to ordinary people. Today, it is our teachers' duty to teach students what Marxism is all about. To fulfill the value of the ideological and political course, I must help my students while they are learning from history. If the students are interested in our revolutionary history, they will be more willing to inherit the spirit of our nation, and the young generation will become a strong driving force in the effort to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Gao explains.
The ideological and political course gives students the courage to walk into society, Gao says. "We learn, in our class, how the Communist Party of China (CPC) has grown from weak to strong, and how our Party has walked from failure to success, eventually leading China in developing from hardship to glory. I hope after my students leave the campus and enter society, they will recall the Party members' strong willpower when they encounter various difficulties in the workplace. I hope my students will learn to integrate their own dreams with the great dream of their nation."
An ideological and political course teacher, Gao adds, must first teach students that they ought to have a firm belief in both Marxism and in CPC's leadership.
Do One's Best
Gao considers her husband, Li, to be an example of "doing one's best to fulfill the goals at work." Says Gao: "The development of the aerospace industry, in China, could not be reached without numerous efforts, made by people who work in this field. My husband works in this field too. I see from him that aerospace workers are busy with their work, day and night. They have a deep love for the development of the aerospace industry. They do not care how much they need to sacrifice in order to fulfill their goals at work," Gao says.
Li often works six days a week. Even during the seven-day holidays, such as Spring Festival and the National Day holiday, he rests for just one day or two days. Sometimes, he brings work home, and he does not take enough time for sleep. His work schedule can be grueling: Attend a meeting; travel to another place, by flight or by train; and, head immediately to the laboratory. Due to his heavy workload, Li once felt considerable pain in his waist after he returned home from a long trip. Gao tried to persuade him to rest at home the following day. But Li refused. "I am touched by the spirit shown by my husband, and by many other workers in the aerospace industry," Gao says.
Li Pinxuan, Gao and Li Guangze's daughter, has learned the family motto — "be an honest person and work diligently" — from her parents. Gao says regardless of which field her daughter will choose to work, she and her husband believe Li Pinxuan will know the importance of being a good person, and of doing each thing well.
Fourteen-year-old Li Pinxuan, who has benefitted from a positive influence from her parents, has received several awards at school. She has attended several activities, during which she has shared her family's story of integrating a small family's dream into the great Chinese Dream.
In May last year, Gao's family was named a National Five-Virtue Family.
Photos Supplied by Interviewees
(Source: The Department of Family and Children's Affairs of the All-China Women's Federation/Women of China English Monthly February 2023 issue)
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