May 27, 2024

80-year-old Chinese language teacher makes World Guinness Records with longest 64-year career

80-year-old Chinese language teacher makes World Guinness Records with longest 64-year career

80-year-old Chinese language teacher, Yeyu Ying

By Biodun Busari

An 80-year-old Chinese woman, Yeyu Ying, has been officially recognised by the Guinness World Records for having the title of longest career as a female language teacher of an incredible 64 years and 33 days.

GWR said Yeyu Ying started her teaching career at the tender age of 17 in a rural elementary school in Zhejiang, China. 

She was born into a poor family in Ruian, Zhejiang Province, but chose to become a teacher to help support her family, and this choice marked the beginning of a remarkable journey.

After initially retiring in February 1999 at the age of 55, she founded Yuying Elementary School, where she continued to teach to this day. 

However, currently, she still teaches six Chinese language classes each week. Her dedication embodies the spirit of lifelong learning, constantly updating her teaching methods and resources, even as she grows older.

“I remember seeing record challenges on TV long ago and thinking about my own passion for teaching. I always believed my lesson plans were the most meticulous in the world,” Yeyu Ying said.

“Maybe I harboured a secret desire to challenge the record but never dared to speak it out loud for fear of being laughed at,” Yeyu Ying recalls. 

“Earlier this year, while chatting with my daughter, we watched some Guinness World Records challenge clips again. I decided to discuss applying with my colleagues, and to my surprise, we succeeded!”

She disclosed that her journey as a teacher from a humble family but with incredible feats gives her joy.

“This recognition is a testament to my lifelong passion. Coming from a rural village in southern China, establishing a school in Lishui in the 1990s, and receiving such an honour for what seemed like an ordinary career fills me with gratitude,” she added.

Yeyu Ying has always faced life’s challenges with courage, never thinking of giving up. At 17, she was tested by mischievous students. 

After retiring, she faced the challenge of founding a school on her own, moving locations three times in four years. Over her decades-long teaching career, even walking to school became a strenuous task at times.

As a principal, Yeyu Ying would rise at 5 am and be at school by 7:30 am to monitor teachers and students before starting her teaching duties. When teachers were away for meetings or training, she would step in to save on school expenses. 

She recalled, “In any spare moment, I was preparing lessons. Unlike today, we didn’t have convenient electronic devices. Every lesson was meticulously handwritten with a calligraphy brush, taking six hours to prepare each class. If I wasn’t satisfied with my handwriting, I would tear up the pages and start over.”

Remarkably, at 80, Yeyu Ying still has new goals of establishing a nursing home to make life comfortable for the aged.

“I plan to open a nursing home next, dedicating my remaining life to society and helping the elderly live their final years with joy,” she said, noting she is currently conducting social research for this new project.