When the quake struck, rather than overseeing an orderly evacuation, he said he just shouted "Stay calm, it's an earthquake!" and ran for it without looking back to see if his pupils were following.
"I ran towards the stairs so fast that I stumbled and fell as I went. When I reached the centre of the football pitch, I found I was the first to escape. None of my pupils was with me," wrote the man now known across China as 'Runner Fan'.
When his pupils began to arrive, they asked: "Teacher, why didn't you bring us out?"
His explanation was simple. "I have a very strong sense of self-preservation," he said. "I have never been a brave man and I'm only really concerned about myself."
While newspapers have largely followed instructions to concentrate on uplifting tales of rescue work since the earthquake, the internet has seen a wild variety of tales emerge. More...