Teacher Spotlight - Instructional Assistant Jenny Chu

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 web@cusdclipco.org.

First, can you talk a bit about your background?

I finished my Master’s degree in Chinese Literature at National Taiwan Normal University.
When I first came to Silicon Valley in 1994, I worked as a semiconductor layout designer. I used
CAD tools to draw the circuit layouts. I did this job for about 8 years, but because I had two little
kids at that time, I decided to quit my job and spent more time taking care of my family.
Now, my daughter just received her Master’s degree from Columbia University and works in
New York as a social worker. My son is a junior at UC Berkeley. My children are grown up, so I
decided to reenter the workforce. I liked to use my original education in teaching background
this time. I heard from my friend about this Clip IA job opportunity, so I gave it a try.
This is my third year at Meyerholz as an Instructional Assistant (IA). The first year I was in
Kindergarten, the second year I supported the fifth grade classrooms, and this year I am back in
the Kindergarten classrooms. I really enjoy being with the kindergarten kids a lot.

Could you tell us what IAs do on a day to day basis?

For Kindergarten there are three classes and three teachers. As an IA, I need to support all three
teachers, and generally the teachers will let me know about their teaching plans every day and
what I need to do to provide necessary assistance for them.

What kind of help do you provide?
Generally there’s some administrative work, as teachers are very busy with students, so I assist
with organizing folders or preparing some materials for class
projects.
I spend the majority of my working hours with students that need individual help. And
sometimes the teacher will assign me to a group of students to do certain activities, such as math,
an app on the iPad, art projects, or PE. I really think the teachers’ working load is heavy,
especially in Kindergarten.

How much time do you spend in the classroom?

I spend 3.5 hours in the classroom a day.

Are there any interesting or special activities you’ve done as an IA?
The students make these small theme books. For example, there is “Autumn’s Leaves” where the
students draw leaves in different colors and see the change in the fall. Right now they’re working
on some books about pumpkins, writing “I’m a happy pumpkin” or “I’m a sad pumpkin” in
Chinese characters. The students learn Chinese from making those small books activities.

Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy in your spare time?
I like to take walks. Every morning when I get to school, I always get there a little bit earlier to
walk around the parks next to the schools. I also like to go hiking and drink coffee with friends.
One other thing: I enjoy watching Korean TV!

Do you have any advice for parents?
I think the CLIP program is a pretty rigorous program. The children need to learn two languages,
so there is a lot to do on daily basis. The kids need to be very focused to keep up. I would
encourage the parents and kids to do more reading at home. I think it helps a lot.

Any last thoughts?
I think the parents in the program are all pretty engaged in their children’s education.
I wish all the parents would encourage and support the teachers. I know all three teachers work
very hard. I see them every day, and I see how hard they work. I know all of us will appreciate
your support!

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