Thirty-seven-year-old Qimei Ciren manages and teaches at a primary school in Puma Jiantang in Tibet, deemed as the highest known classroom on earth with an elevation of 5,373 meters above sea level. The school is higher than the base camp of daring climbers departing for Mt. Everest!
Qimei’s passion for teaching enabled him to withstand conditions that comes with the profession, such as hypoxia, or lack of oxygen; plethora, or a florid, red complexion; and arthritis because of the chilling temperature averaging at -5 degrees Celsius, or 23 degrees Fahrenheit.
Serving as a teacher in the school for five years and spending the last two years as its Principal, Qimei’s responsibilities includes waking up the children in their dormitories and making sure that they wash themselves. Afterwards, he also has to tidy up their quarters and wash their clothes.
The most challenging part of his work, according to Qimei, is the climate and the oxygen-poor environment, as well as the shortage of teachers to do the tasks in the school. He also said that some of the teachers did not even have formal teaching education and their abilities have to be improved.
Despite the cold and harsh environment and living far from his family, Qimei still continues with his chosen path because of his love of teaching and love of his students, as well.