Growing up in Toronto, my parents dragged me to Chinese school on the weekends starting at a very young age. In retrospect, I am grateful that I not only learned one more language but also kept my cultural heritage. As I grew older, my love for the Chinese language and culture grew resulting in me taking more Chinese courses in university and studying abroad in Hong Kong and Beijing. Now, I am very happy to use my language skills to teach children to be bilingual and bi-literate in an exciting, fun, and engaging immersion environment.
Since my parents are both educators, my interest in teaching began early on. Throughout high school, I volunteered to read with children and to help them with their homework. My love for working with children continued as I attended Cornell University where I studied psychology and Asian studies. I later moved to San Francisco and pursued my teaching credential and Masters in Elementary Education. I started teaching Kindergarten in 2011 and fell in love. It is such an honor and an incredible experience time and time again to watch the students come in as uncertain preschool grads, some not even knowing a single word of Chinese, and guide them to learn and blossom throughout the year. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two sons, taking walks, reading books, watching movies, listening to music, and of course, working with children.
I strongly believe that a good learning experience is built on a collaborative effort amongst the parents, child, and teacher. I am excited and looking forward to the work and growth we will all accomplish this year! Please feel free to contact me via my district email or in person after school.
My approach to teaching has been heavily influenced by my own experiences learning Chinese as a child. I, like many other Chinese Americans, attended a very traditional Saturday Chinese school where there was an emphasis on rote memorization towards learning. I hated every minute of it. I believe that learning should be fun, engaging, and most importantly of all, meaningful. I am excited to be here at CIS; this is the type of school my mother would have wanted me to attend growing up.
Prior to teaching at CIS, I taught English in Guangzhou, China, as well as Vocational ESL to displaced Chinese garment workers. I have a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Asian American Studies from UC Berkeley as well as a Master’s in English with an emphasis on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from San Francisco State University. In my spare time, I am on the constant lookout for new reading material and travel destinations!
I LOVE, LOVE kindergarten! If not for a sabbatical year, this 2018-2019 would have been my 18th year of service as an SFUSD K/1 teacher. Wow. Now, I really feel old!
I also LOVE San Francisco! Born in Vietnam, but from Chinese descent, I immigrated to America at the age of 5 and have made San Francisco my home since then. I have 2 children who attended CIS! It says a great deal about a school when teachers have their own children attend the school they work at, don’t you think? CIS is truly a dedicated and involved school with a parent-teacher community that is top-notch and I am so fortunate to be part of it since its inception in 2009.
Product of the public school system, I have always wanted to be an educator. Teachers like my K teacher, Mrs. Friel, gave me a long-lasting impression of how impactful a teacher can be. To this day, her name conjures up an image of the old lady from the nursery rhyme, “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.” But she wasn’t anything like her, only by appearance. Short and stout and always in a dress with an apron and white gray hair tied up into a bun, Mrs. Friel, my very first teacher was always patient and understanding, never yelled and always, always smiled. I truly had no idea what she was talking about since English was foreign to me, but with modeling and practice, I picked up the language! On the other hand, I inspired to be an educator also because of teachers like the one I had in first grade. The image of her slamming the almighty yardstick on my desk to keep me from opening my mouth because I was a “talker” still scares the daylights out of me! Yet, I loved her anyway because I was always taught to respect teachers. Her approach was to keep us quiet because that was what she liked, not realizing that her teaching method was ineffective. By not allowing me to talk and practice the language only hindered my learning. On a side note, she went through quite a few yardsticks that year! Needless to say, the experiences I have had with teachers and professors from elementary to college years have shaped my teaching philosophy: All children can reach their fullest potential and achieve success so long as they are given the appropriate opportunities and support. Kindergarten Rocks!