Pros: Shen Laoshi is an overall friendly teacher, who is ALWAYS available at her office hours anytime during the day to help you out with any concerns or time conflicts. She's always smiling and really passionate in what she does. And, she grades each individual student on a different scale, depending on their background and which Chinese series they took. Cons: I felt that she asked way too much out of us. Coming from Fu Laoshi's class, I was not used to this amount of workload. Every week there were 2 quizzes, and every other week there was an assigned essay of increasing length from 350-600 characters (5 essays in total for the whole quarter). Having taken Chinese for 2 years at UCLA, I understand that this subject requires a lot of time input and effort. I honestly found her way of teaching Chinese not effective. You can't expect some students to learn more Chinese by asking them to write and write and write.. It was unfortunate that she didn't put more time on teaching grammar because that would have helped a whole lot with our essays' grammatical structures. Half the time, I wasn't even sure if my sentences made sense. I did go to her office hours to have her look at one of my essays, but she only spent a few minutes glancing at it and gave me pointers on the "bigger picture" of my paper and nothing about my grammar was mentioned. Writing is a major emphasis in this class and because of that, I rarely had time to go back to old chapters to review since I was so caught up in preparing for the next paper. Last but not least, there seemed to be no consistency in her lectures. Each and every day of each week, I came to class not knowing what subject areas she would focus on. Some days she would teach random parts from the textbook and on other days she would teach off some PowerPoint slides. I like Shen Laoshi and all. But, I'm simply not a fan of how she teaches Chinese. After 10 weeks with her, I felt that I forgot how to speak and write basic Chinese as the weeks progressed on.
Shen laoshi is very, very, very, welcoming to all of her students, and I often see people visiting her office hours regularly. She is excellent at analyzing each individual students level and accordingly helps you at your own level. I have never met such an understanding teacher, who can both challenge her students and make the class easier for them as well. I would recommend her to anyone.