Meet the man who has been teaching and managing the highest known classroom on Earth, located in Tibet.
The primary school in Puma Jiantang is 5,373 meters above sea level, making it higher than the base camp where daring climbers depart to climb Mount Everest. It’s not only surprising that a primary school exists there but also that there is someone who is willing to take up the job of a teacher despite the harsh weather conditions.
With his passion for teaching, a 37-year-old man named Qimei Ciren didn’t pass up the opportunity even if it means he might have to deal with things like hypoxia (a lack of oxygen), plethora (a florid, red complexion) and arthritis because of the average annual temperature of -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). He has served the school for five years as a teacher and the last two years being its principal.
In an interview posted by South China Morning Post, Ciren gave an insight into his job not only as a teacher but as a carer to his students. On an everyday basis, he wakes up the kids in their dormitories, makes sure they wash themselves, has breakfast with them, and even tidies up their quarters and washes their clothes.
He said that one of the most difficult things to deal with at the primary school is the climate and the oxygen-poor environment, as well as the lack of teachers compared to the amount of tasks that need to be accomplished. Ciren also said that some teachers do not have education majors, therefore the staff’s abilities needs to be improved.
However, despite being far away from his family and surviving in the cold and harsh environment, he pursues this chosen path because of his love for teaching and his concern for his students.
“I stay because I see many teachers leave and the teachers here have a lot of work. I’m also reluctant to leave the pupils. If I left, could the school keep other teachers who love them like I do in the future? I stay because I worry about this,” he said.
Fortunately, because being in a high altitude produces more problems that good, the school will be relocating and merging with another primary school at a nicer location.