Teacher Spotlight - Catherine Huang
Every month we will feature a current student, teacher or alumni from CLIP to showcase on our blog. If you are interested in being featured, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are you?
My name is Catherine Huang. I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, got a B.A. from Providence University majored in English Literature. Later on I went to University of Florida and got my M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education with emphasis on Elementary School Education. After graduation, I moved to Chicago, Illinois, and taught as the Mandarin Bilingual Teacher at one of the Chicago Public Schools.
How long have you been with the CLIP program, and in what roles?
I came to California about 20 years ago, when the CUSD started a new program called Mandarin Enrichment Program back then, which is now CLIP. I started the Program with only one class of kindergartners. At that time, Mandarin was taught for 30 minutes a day only. I got an English co-teacher in the second year. We both taught the kindergarten class and the first grade class and rotated the classes between us so students would get both Chinese and English instructions with 50/50 emphasis. After that, we increased our staff number gradually. The percentage of language instruction for each grade level was set later when our Director came on board. She also led teachers’ professional development opportunities within and outside the District. As for me, I taught kindergarten for the first few years, then moved to first grade. Then I was the CLIP Resource Teacher for 3 years. I started teaching second grade after we moved from Collins Elementary School to Meyerholz Elementary School. It is about 12 years ago, and I’ve been with second grade ever since. Currently I am also a proud CLIP parent. My son is in CLIP 4th grade this year.
How have you seen CLIP evolve over the years?
I’ve witnessed all the changes CLIP has been through over the years. We started with one class of less than 20 students, and now the first year students are already done with college education and in workforce! Our parents are very supportive and involved since day one! They help collected all the teaching materials when we were developing our own Chinese curriculum, and they organized and established CLIPCO, a strong and wonderful organization to support our Program ongoing. Without our dedicated parents and staff, CLIP will not be able to stand tall for 20 years! I am very honored and proud to be a part of it, and to be a witness of all the great things happening in CLIP!
What are some of your hobbies or special interests?
I enjoyed volleyball before but now enjoy more on traveling and watching movies. Reading is also my lifelong hobby. When I have time, I’d love to pick up my interest in musical instruments (I used to play clarinet at middle school, but now I need to polish it to pick it back up).
What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
My favorite subject to teach is definitely Chinese. Among all aspects of it, I specifically enjoy teaching Chinese traditions and legends to my students. I enjoy explaining them Chinese idioms and how they can use these idioms in their daily life. I find it very useful when I introduce Chinese characters, idioms, and legends using Chinese TV shows and animation. This will catch their attention at once and they tend to remember better.
Tell us about your favorite annual school event/activity/project.
My favorite annual school project is ‘My Store Diorama’ project, which starts in April and students do oral presentation in May, right before Open House. Students have to do some research on their own store and write up their oral presentation to persuade the audience to vote for his/her store. This really shows both their writing skills and their reasoning skills. I am very proud of what they present every year!
Why do you think bilingual education is important?
With the well-connected worldwide network, the world is a global village. Communication skills become very crucial when you travel to different countries and places. Being bilingual or even mulgi-lingual not only helps you understand other people’s perspectives, but also gives you another point of view on things you are used to or not aware of. I believe that bilingual education will help one understand the world better and broaden one’s life.
What advice do you have for current CLIP students?
Take this opportunity to explore the language and learn it well. When you have a question, ask the teacher and/or your friends - ask anyone who can help! Try to use it whenever you meet someone who speaks that language. Make friends with them. And they will help you learn more! I know it sounds too much now, but when you are able to use it in real life, you’ll enjoy it!
What advice do you have for current CLIP parents?
Encourage your child to practice speaking the language any time possible. Also, make sure your child have enough sleep at night so they are energized for the next day at school! Thank you for all your support at home!