Hsiao Laoshi is caring, funny, and engaging; all qualities essential to an instructor teaching a beginning language course. Be warned, she will seem a bit air-headed, but mostly its only an act, and deep inside she is a sincere, serious and caring woman who takes care to involve even the most reserved student. She keeps strictly to the text which is helpful for exams (which, written all in characters can be overwhelming at first), but she doesn't let you realize that during class with exercises that not only reivew, but regurgitate in a new way what was covered in the corresponding unit. Ask her a question, and she will give you an answer in caring detail; however make sure you give her a clear question as she isn't exactly fluent in English, and misunderstandings may occur. She may sound harsh sometimes, but thats only part of her sarcastic humor.
The only complaint about this class is the number of people who were already competent in basic Mandarin skills who were taking this class. I don't know if it was only my section, but at least half of the class was comprised of such individuals. Fortunately this class isn't graded on a curve, but that's not the point; they made it worse for everyone. They could offer help, but they just slept through class, stuck together during group assignmentsm and dissed the other "beginners"--let me point out to you that this class is MEANT for absolute beginners, so if you run into one of these guys, don't panic.