Home Features ‘Passionate and Curious:’ Mr. Wenjiang Tu’s overseas journey to teaching at OHS

‘Passionate and Curious:’ Mr. Wenjiang Tu’s overseas journey to teaching at OHS

Mr. Tu in his classroom.
Credit: Gavin Ross, 42Fifty

Mr. Wenjiang Tu, a teacher of AP Computer Science and College Prep Statistics at Oswego High School, is a unique teacher with a lasting impact on the school’s population. Tu started his teaching career alongside his family overseas in a different country. His mother was a high school teacher, and his father was a college professor.

“My family is pretty much a teaching family,” Mr. Tu said. “So that brought me to teaching.”

After years of following his family’s footsteps, he found himself here in America where he was while looking for a teaching job. His career started here in Oswego teaching Junior High, but he found himself more at home when he started teaching at Oswego High School. 

“The first teaching job I had was at a junior high. However, the junior high behavior is bad…I cannot teach them with their bad behavior,” Mr. Tu said.

Mr. Tu has worked at OHS for 15 years, and during this time he has incorporated more than just a simple lesson into his teaching. As a teacher from another country, Mr. Tu has utilized his accent into his teaching. He wants to prepare his students for the future, where they might be working with people who also have accents.

“I view this positively,” Mr. Tu said. “If I were a student, I would think that’s my opportunity to gain an understanding of people with accents, for the real world […] our country is an immigrant country, and these people come from different countries of the world with different accents. So I view this as a positive.”

Being from another country, English is not Mr. Tu’s native language. As a teacher, he says this can sometimes be difficult for him, but he is always willing to reiterate his points to help students understand what he’s trying to say.

“I received your English, and translate it to my native language,” Mr. Tu said. “My thinking language is always my native language, and when I speak out it’s English. So I always have two translations in my brain.”

Mr. Tu has worked alongside other teachers throughout his career that have gotten to know him. Teachers such as Mr. Gregory Pelzer, an Ap Statistics and Honors Geometry teacher, has had the opportunity to work alongside Mr. Tu.

“He is passionate about math,” Mr. Pelzer said. “I think that his passion for it and his curiosity about it makes more interesting… those are great characteristics.” 

It is in this way that he has made an impact on students throughout his time here at OHS. Students such as senior Erin Holle have good things to say about Mr. Tu and how his teaching makes a positive impact.

“He really knows how to help people,” Holle said. “He’s a really good teacher, and he’s really sweet.”

Students like this are the reason why Mr. Tu enjoys his position here at OHS. Mr. Tu spends time reflecting on his career, and the impact he has made. 

“ couple days ago, I got an email from a student I taught in 2012, and he joined my Mathletes team and now he is a Fermilab engineer,” Tu said. “That gives me a lot of confidence, and a lot of encouragement to be a teacher.”

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