Zou Guifen now teaches all 16 students at the school.
Zou Guifen has dedicated her adult life to teaching in an impoverished mountain village.
In her years as a teacher in the remote village of Hubei Province, Zou Guifen has seen many people come and go, but no one has stayed around for as long as she has. Zou, 54, has taught primary students in Luoyan, an impoverished village buried deep in the mountains, for 34 years, bearing hardships such as lack of transportation and a rough environment for much longer than any other teachers.
Zou now teaches all 16 students at the school, who are in different grades and courses. She sometimes also makes lunch for her students, most of whom live very far away. She also lets them use her personal home telephone to talk to their parents, who have left them to find work in bigger cities.
To better teach students, Zou has never stopped improving herself. Four years ago, she began studying English and computers. "My students have shown great interest and curiosity for English and computers, even though they live in isolated and poor areas," Zou says. "As their teacher, I am obliged to offer them a channel to access those new things in cities."
Zou is also very concerned about her students' safety. In the early 1990s, when the old school building was in a bad state of repair, she persuaded her husband to fix it up using their own money because the local authorities could not or would not pay for it. She also personally escorts the children across the river in front of the school, even though she has severe rheumatic arthritis that causes severe pain whenever the weather changes.
She has won the respect of her students and local villagers for her selfless contributions over a long period.
"I will never regret being a teacher in such an isolated mountain, and I will continue teaching here until I die," Zou said.