There is a saying among folks of the Shanyang county: "Eagles soar above high mountains, generals rise from poor families". Yang Xiaosheng is an eagle flying from Wanfu village, Manchuanguan town of Shanyang county in Shaanxi province. After honing his skills at Shaanxi Normal University and becoming full-fledged, he came back to Shanyang Middle School to repay his countrymen.
Graduating from the Department of Physics of Shaanxi Normal University in 1980s, he turned down tempting offers and decided to come back to his hometown and became a teacher at his alma mater.
Thirty years passed, he has become vice principal of Shanyang Middle School and a National Model Teacher, and he has met China's state leaders twice. He did not claim credit for himself and become arrogant, but teach classes as he always did, knitting dreams for students in the mountains with his love and sincerity.
"If it wasn't Mr. Yang, I could not have got these grades, and I might have indulged in computer games instead." Zhou Zhao, a former Class Three high school junior, would always say this when he talked about his teacher. It was Yang Xiaosheng who encouraged Zhou Zhao when he was disheartened and brought him back to normal study life from the virtual world.
An innocent and naughty boy from Yunlin Ridge in Manchuan town, Zhou Zhao easily made it into this key senior high school in the county seat and stayed among top students in class at first. But trying to relieve pressure during his father's illness, he began to frequent at internet cafes and became addicted to online games. His grades fell drastically. He resolved to stop playing games when he dropped from a top student to an average one, but the games became an Inextricable nightmare. Even when he sat in the classroom, pictures of the games would pop up before his eyes, plots of the games would play in his mind, and his hands would involuntarily tap on his thighs under the desk, as if on a keyboard. He could not stay in the classroom for two sessions before sneaking back to internet cafe. Once he got in a rage and spent six straight days and nights in an internet cafe.
"I don't know how Mr. Yang came to know I was playing games. It was after midnight and I was playing at an internet cafe when he found me and persuaded me to come back to school with him." Zhou Zhao still remembered that night.
Since then, Yang Xiaosheng would search one internet cafe near school after another, whenever he noticed Zhou Zhao was not in the classroom. He would bring Zhou Zhao to his office and have a heart-to-heart conversation with him, without any scolding. Zhou Zhao felt a warm current running to his heart and he knew it was Mr. Yang's love and care. If he had to face this sincere teacher, there was no chance he would go to the internet cafe. A prodigal who returns is more precious than gold. Zhou Zhao is back to classroom and is always among top ten students among more than 1600 science students.
In Yang Xiaosheng's eyes, each student is a respectable individual. He always gives priority to caring about students' psychological wellbeing and helping them grow into adulthood in his educational practice. For misbehaved students, he would convince them with emotion and motivate them with reason with his love and care, dragging them out of the muddy traps to begin a new life.
Wei Ping is the head teacher of Class 22 for high school junior students at Shanyang Middle School, and he was an internet addict himself. He always says "Mr. Yang is my mentor. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for him." When he was a sophomore high school student, he used to play online all night with three classmates in the same dorm. When Yang Xiaosheng found this out, he asked them to come to his office and talked to them patiently. He checked their attendance every class, visited their dorm after the lights were out and rechecked after midnight, until they got rid of their addiction. Under Yang's love and care, Wei Ping was admitted to the Department of Physics of Shaanxi Normal University, which he thought was his redemption. The other three students were also admitted to universities in Hunan, Hebei and Shandong provinces. For Wei Ping, Mr. Yang is his role model. He imitates his teacher in teaching classes and educating students, and by nurturing them silently.
Several dozens of students such as He Wei, Ren Zheng, Feng Bo, Xue Jun and Chen Fei were once addicted to internet cafes and their grades plummeted. Yang Xiaosheng visited their homes, talked with them, looked for them in internet cafes, accompanied them in their studies, and finally brought them back on the right track. Chen Fei was admitted to Southwest University and became a teacher of Shanyang Middle School after graduation.
Yang Xiaosheng's persistent pursues are to bring students who are astray back onto the right path. He also considers it his mission to help poor students at Shanyang Middle School to achieve their college dreams.
In this national level poverty-stricken Shanyang county, it is difficult to get every student to continue their studies in senior high school. Yang Xiaosheng would try every means and make every endeavor to render his care and help students in poor families.
Jiang Wanqiang is a student in Class Five and a high school junior. Since Wanqiang's childhood, his father has been sick with lung disease and was bedridden and took medicines for most of the year. Though the family was heavily in debt trying to cure him, his father passed away when Wanqiang was six. Wanqiang could not get enough money to pay his tuition, but he was admitted to Shanyang Middle School because of his good grades. Just when he was at a loss for what to do, Yang Xiaosheng came to help. Learning Wanqiang's story, Yang paid the tuition with his own money. Then he approached local government agencies such as the Committee for Caring About the Younger Generation and solved Wanqiang's tuition problem for three years of senior high school. Wanqiang said if it weren't for Mr. Yang's help, he would have become a migrant worker instead of preparing for college.
Compared to Jiang Wanqiang, Zhou Lan of Class 28 high school junior is in more straitened circumstances. Ten years ago, her ill mother died, leaving the 9-year girl behind with her father, who had to leave home to be a migrant worker. But only three years later, a mine accident took his father's life. When Zhou Lan got the admission notice from Shanyang Middle School, she was not able to pay the more than 1000 yuan tuition, for she could barely sustain her daily life. Yang Xiaosheng extended his helping hand again.
Zhou Lan always says that it is Mr. Yang who has given her courage to live and motivation to study. She is one of the top liberal arts students and she wants to change her destiny with her education.
Love and care are priceless and boundless. Over the years, Yang Xiaosheng gave more than 10000 yuan to support his poor students, helping them finish senior high school and obtain admission to university.
A local and national celebrity now, Yang Xiaosheng has always kept a low profile, teaching classes regularly and helping his students with his love and care.
Like an eagle flying from the mountains of Shanyang, Yang Xiaosheng's love and care soar above the mountains. Motivated by his positive energy, generations of Shaanxi Normal University graduates and Shanyang Middle School students are walking steadily on the way to their dreams.
Text by Wang Yanjia