Community members react to Mandarin resignations

Lily Zuckerman, Ad Manager & Assistant Social Media Manager

The Language Department at Masters offers a variety of options including Mandarin, Spanish, Latin and French. Many of these languages have multiple teachers, except Mandarin, which has one teacher for many sections. Within the mandarin department, there was a new teacher for two years, until the 2021-2022 school year,  where the department hired Peter Mihlacik, whom many students loved, but he will be leaving today.  

Senior Stella Zinaman, who was enrolled in a Mandarin class in her four years of high school, has had a new Mandarin teacher in ninth grade, tenth grade and senior year.. She said, “It’s a little harder to build a close connection with a teacher. …It just happens to be that way. It’s kind of interesting. Sometimes we wonder if it’s our fault.” Zinaman added, “I think it’s been eye-opening to have a variety of different teachers because we’ve gotten so many different learning styles.  Us seniors have been taught Mandarin in three different very different ways now, and I know which style is my favorite and have been able to adapt.  I would like to choose my favorite teacher to stick with for all four years because then I would’ve learned a lot more.”   

Similar to Zinaman, Junior Cameron Lovett has been practicing Mandarin since sixth grade. He plans to continue learning this language next year even though he will have a new teacher. Lovett said, “I’m fascinated by Mandarin, not just learning the language but the culture. And one thing about the culture we learned in class and our teacher this year, still does a great job of indulging us in that.” He continued, “It’s kind of disappointing when you have a teacher making a bond with helping you  learn a new language and you get kind of close to doing that, and then leave and then you have to adapt to a new learning style, it’s kind of difficult like that.” 

The language department has chosen their teachers with consideration, they have hired a new mandarin teacher, one that students hope will stay for more than a year. 

Sophomore, Konstantin Miebach has had a new teacher every year of high school. He said, “ A new teacher every year means a new teaching style. It is difficult for our teacher to get us ready for the next level, without knowing what we will be learning next year, with our new teacher.” 

 Jonathan Karpinos, who has been the head of the language department for two years has not only been hiring new teachers but trying to grow the Mandarin program. He said, “I think one interesting challenge with Mandarin teachers is that there are a pretty large number of people who speak Chinese in the United States, but there are many fewer people who have studied language teaching, and have experienced teaching the language. So sometimes it can be hard when you’re looking around for a teacher, you can find someone who might speak the language and know the language well and be really enthusiastic. But if they don’t have a certain amount of training as a language teacher, it might be hard for them to be successful in the job.”