The ordinariness and persistence of a “crutch” in the pandemic
The sudden outbreak of the pandemic in Shanghai has impacted and affected everyone's life, and the spirit of "helping each other in the time of trouble" is even more precious at this time. Similarly, great efforts have been made on the campus of Tongji University. Although those efforts are just ordinary work under normal conditions, they can shine even more in extraordinary times. Liu Xiaoyang, a Tenure-track Associate Professor of the School of Political Science & International Relations (SPSIR), is one ordinary member among thousands of contributors.
In late February before the outbreak in Shanghai, Associate Professor Liu had a reconstructive operation due to the rupture of the knee ligament, which is supposed to take him at least one quarter to fully recover. In the first month of recovery, although he was unable to participate in relevant activities at the school, he still used the Internet to teach the students and answer questions from them and provide assistance to the school, without affecting the normal teaching and administrative work. In mid-March, although he had to wear protective equipment and walk with a crutch, he was still ready to return to the school and work immediately at any time.
However, the changes in the pandemic situation have disrupted the normal plans of all teachers and students of Tongji University, and the relevant work of the school has also been affected to varying degrees. Faced with the shortage of staff and the need for job security in the school, Mr. Liu, who should have continued his rehabilitation at home, volunteered to return to the school one month after the operation, hoping to provide offline support for the interview of doctoral and master's candidates in the school by virtue of his past experience. Thus, together with some other colleagues, he resolutely returned to the campus that he had left for a long time, becoming a hero in harm’s way.
Like every other resident teacher, Mr. Liu was busy working during the day and sleeping on the sofa at night without any complaints. He assisted the postgraduate management team in arranging the video system and debugging the computer equipment at the interview site. As a postgraduate interviewer, he participated in the interview and service from beginning to end to help the school with the successful completion of the interview. As the secretary of the third CPC branch of the faculty of the school, Mr. Liu organized the branch meeting in March online, and as the class teacher, he brought together the students of his class to take group photos at the Cherry Blossom Avenue (before the strict lockdown) to prepare for the subsequent image production of the graduation season.
According to the original plan, the teachers who participated in the interview were allowed to leave the campus by turns after relevant work, but the deterioration of the pandemic in Shanghai has once again affected the arrangements. In early April, Mr. Liu, like other teachers, firmly supported the new policies on lockdown and stood ready to serve the school for a long time. During his stay in the school, he organized and participated in many tasks and activities with his crutch and sense of responsibility, leaving us a figure of perseverance.
As the secretary of the third CPC branch, he held a special meeting on response to the pandemic on April 5 in accordance with the requirements of the university and the school, and always insisted on transmitting information with positive energy and creating a positive and rational atmosphere. As a admission specialist of the Qinghai admission team of Tongji University, he organized and participated in the online information sessions on the Pilot Reform Program of Enrollment for Basic Subjects on April 13 and April 26, respectively, in accordance with the relevant requirements of the University's admission office and the leaders of the admission team, during which he answered questions from parents and students in Qinghai Province. As the teaching secretary, he assisted the school leaders in organizing and holding the Symposium on Optimization of Curriculum System, helped the postgraduate teaching team with the secondary examination of part-time doctoral students, and provided written support for the important work of the school. As the scientific research secretary of the Institute for China & World studies of Tongji University, he sorted out and completed the writing of the institute's chronicle of events of 2021, guided the running of the institute’s official WeChat account "tongji zhan lue pai", and assisted the leaders of the institute and the school in frequently giving academic lectures.
As the class teacher of the 2019 undergraduate students of SPSIR, Mr. Liu completes relevant tasks about students, regularly convenes the class committee to optimize the class epidemic reporting plan, organizes interesting class lectures, and provides online one-on-one tutoring for students in need. As a supervisor of postgraduate students, he holds group meetings to care about students' learning and psychological states, and encourages students to "take what comes" and "cultivate the spirit of excellence to maintain a normal state under abnormal conditions". As a teacher, he insists on full lesson preparation and flexible teaching, organizes teaching forms including simulation of Russia-Ukraine negotiations and simulation of the United Nations Security Council, and he is committed to improving students' self-adjustment and self-development capacity with the concept of “happy learning”.
In this regard, Mr. Liu said: due to the problem of his knee, he needs to use a crutch to go out at ordinary times and cannot walk with heavy loads for a long time. So, he is unable to provide direct volunteer services for teachers and students like his colleagues, or become a guardian of Tongji campus like those excellent teachers. The only thing he can do is to provide more logistic support, express more positive ideas, create more positive atmosphere, and bring more smiles. "I am just an ordinary member of the faculty of Tongji University. I am doing what many people are doing. It is encouraging to know that they are doing more than I am, and I feel ashamed that I could have done more".
Most of the time, it is not because you see hope that you persist, but because you persist, you can see hope. We believe that there are thousands of such ordinary persons in Tongji and there are also many such dedicated teachers and students in SPSIR, and with such a sense of responsibility, we are sure to soak up the sunshine after overcoming the pandemic.
(By Hou Zefa and Wang Chaoyang)