Qi Guo looks back on her path to math


Photo by Ayomi Wolff

Shirah Lister

Wilson’s very own math god Qi Guo never expected to be a math teacher. She studied computer science as an undergrad, but when she came to the U.S., the university campus where her husband was teaching didn’t offer computer science. Since the university would be paying her tuition, Guo made the switch to math and thus an influential math legend was born. 

Guo, who currently teaches Honors Pre-Calculus and AP Calculus AB, didn’t start off at Wilson. When she first started working for DCPS, she was teaching at H.D. Woodson High School but came to Wilson every evening to take courses to become a certified teacher. “When I came to this school I thought, ‘whoa this looks like a really good school, I want to work here,’” Guo said.

Originally from China, Guo grew up in the rural countryside. Living in a village certainly had its pros—the kids were not as worried about studying, so there were always people to play with. 

Guo described her family as poor, but that didn’t stop her from reaching her full potential. “The kids in the family realized we had to work hard to improve the situation,” Guo said. That hard work eventually paid off, as she was the only student in her middle school who was accepted into the magnet high school she attended.

Unlike in the U.S., high school in China consisted of students remaining in one classroom while the teachers switched rooms. Because of that setup, the bond between the students became very strong. “Even 20 or 30 years after graduation you still keep in contact with them,” she said.

Although Guo has been a teacher for 14 years, teaching remains a very rewarding part of her life. She stated that her proudest moments are when she receives emails from past students about how they have succeeded. 

With 13 years of teaching at Wilson, you could consider Guo a master of all things Wilson. Outside of school, however, Guo loves to play ping-pong. She got into it after her son began to train for table tennis, and soon after became the advisor for Wilson’s ping-pong club.

For those who have taken her classes, I’m sure you’ve always wondered some basic Guo facts, whether it be after failing her iconic tests or hiking up the four floors just to get up to her classroom. Well, I made the trek (and failed the tests) and am here to deliver. Favorite color? Purple, because it’s pleasing to look at. Favorite food? Chinese dumplings. Formula she related to the most? Sine graphs, because life has its ups and downs.