Program Teachers

MICHELLE MAK

LITERACY SPECIALIST

Hello Families.  I am the Literacy Specialist at Chinese Immersion School who has the great fortune of working with our wonderful students and teachers.  
 
A little bit about myself.  I was born and raised in San Francisco.  As a student, I attended St. Mary’s Chinese Day School & Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School before earning my Bachelor’s degree at  UC Davis.  I also hold a Masters in Language and Literacy from San Francisco State.
 
I have been teaching and working with English Language Learners in San Francisco Unified School District since 1999.  My passion, as a teacher, is to pass on my love of reading onto my students.  To help them discover that one special book that will begin their life long journey with books.  
 
During my spare time, I enjoy a good mystery, discovering the newest children’s books, and spending time with friends and family.  Food is another love.  I love a  great cheeseburger, bowl of ramen, slice of prime rib...

FLORA CHAN

MUSIC TEACHER

I am very happy to be part of Chinese Immersion School to be the music teacher.  I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Macau.  I immigrated to the United States with my family when I graduated high school.

I faced challenges to become a music teacher.  I was a business major in college when I first started college.  My parents and friends gave me a message that you can earn a lot of money in this field and you should go into this field.  I have been trying my very best for all my classes but, the more I study about business the more I realized that this is not what I wanted to be in some day.  Life is too short, I must do something that I enjoyed for the rest of my life but not doing something that others wanted you to be.  Then I auditioned to become a music student, majoring in Music Education during my third year in college.  I loved music a lot and wanted to share my love and passion of music to the next generation so that they have an opportunity to learn and appreciate music in their lives.

I attended many workshops and courses about general music focusing on the Orff, Kodály and Delcroze pedagogy and I loved to share all these to my students.  The Kodály pedagogy's primary goal was to instill a lifelong love of music in students and to create a fun, educational framework built on a solid grasp of basic music theory and music notation.  The Orff pedagogy focused on the student's innate abilities to engage in rudimentary forms of music, using basic rhythms and melodies. Orff considered the whole body a percussive instrument and students are led to develop their music abilities in a way that parallels the development of western music. The Delcroze pedagogy was about "rhythmic gymnastics", eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic Infused with those pedagogies.  Infused with these pedagogies, students learn about singing technique, music appreciation, theory, playing instruments thought a lot of fun games and activities.  There are often laughter and happy faces in my music classes.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano and flute, singing, attending music concerts, swimming, shopping, spending time with my friends and especially traveling.  Whenever places I go, I also find something, such as books, cultures, pictures, dolls, instruments and stories that I can bring back to my teaching.

Again, I am excited to teach and bring music to Chinese Immersion School.  I look forward to this wonderful school year.

MEI-YI YU

STEAM TEACHER

Hello CIS!

I grew up speaking Mandarin as I was born and raised in Taiwan. English was my second language and Cantonese was my third after my family immigrated to San Francisco when I was 15. As an English language learner myself, I always have a special connection with our EL students because I can identify with their learning curves; as a Cantonese learner, I also understand the challenge that our non-native Cantonese students are going through. These experiences have become one of my strongest assets as I work and grow with our students.

Prior to joining CIS, I have taught third to fifth grade Chinese bilingual and later second grade ELD (and I had thought that was the youngest age group I would ever work with). Then I accepted the challenge of becoming one of the founding teachers of CIS and took over a first grade class (Ok, just one year younger than second grade. I could totally handle this…). In the following years, I moved from first to third, to fifth, and back to third grade and was becoming quite comfortable with myself. When I was offered the opportunity to become the STEAM teacher, I knew it was time to leave my comfort zone and take on the next challenge (and yes, it meant that I would have to teach the sweet little kindergarteners, and I have grown to love them!)

Besides coaching students to build structures out of toilet paper rolls and to program robots to solve problems, one of my favorite thing to share with the students is the word “FAIL” - First Attempt In Learning. As the STEAM teacher, I believe my ultimate goal is not to make everyone a scientist or an engineer, but to foster creativity and give students a safe space to take risks and learn from their own mistakes. My passion is to make learning fun and meaningful for students as they pursue their own passions.

When I am not teaching, I like to catch Pokémon or watch Japanese anime. I also love to travel and try out different kinds of food. My favorite place to hang out is Starbucks, especially when the holiday drinks are there!

WENDY DERE

LIBRARIAN

Greetings!  My name is Wendy Dere and I am the librarian here at the Chinese Immersion School.  This is my second year in the position of teacher-librarian, although I have been a teacher with SFUSD for over 15 years.  I am currently at CIS on Thursdays and work two other days at Jean Parker Elementary located in Chinatown.  I love my role as the librarian and thoroughly enjoy the time that I spend with the children.  It also enables me to be a resource and provide support for the classroom teachers.

I’m a native San Franciscan and a product of the public school system.  I’ve seen the City and the District make great strides towards improving the quality and the diversity of our schools.  I am a true supporter of dual language immersion programs, in any language, and have witnessed first hand, how beneficial such a program can be, both academically and socially. Being well versed in multiple languages not only provides additional global opportunities, but also encourages divergent thinking and widens a person’s perspective.  I only wish that I had had the opportunity to attend a language immersion program while growing up.

In addition to my work, I am a busy mom of four children, ages 11, 4, and 17 month-old twins.  My oldest attends Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, and the three younger ones will follow suit.  Naturally, much of my free time is spent volunteering at my children’s schools.  I love observing my kids in different environments and situations.  I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible, often taking long walks and hikes around all of the wonderful neighborhoods that the City has to offer.

If you should have any questions or comments, please feel free drop by the library on Thursdays or leave me a note in my mailbox.  I look forward to working with all of you and your children throughout the year.