By Sherlene Shanklin
In today’s Moments that Matter, As we come to the close of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month we have learned a lot about culture, lifestyle and to learn more about our neighbors. I spoke to a JCPS teacher who helps make a child’s transition a little smoother.
Let me to introduce you to Huanmei Wang. She was born in China. Serving as an ESL teacher at Camp Taylor Elementary.
She says “I help ESL student to learn English. ESL stands for English as a second language.”
Ms. Wang as students call her explains her role and importance. She says many of the students have never been to school until they get to her.
Wang says “This program is designed especially for those who like speak a language other than English at home. A lot of students come from foreign countries and a lot of people are even refugees.”
She’s a support system for many. She tells a story of a young child born in the U.S. that went back to her country so her grandmother could care for her while her parents worked. Upon her return, Ms. Wang was an link to home. She says “That person came, she wouldn’t talk to anybody else except for me because maybe I talk maybe in her language. They say this student cant talk. Yes, she can just with me. I think I am a support for her. A person she can come too.”
Today, that young lady is a sophomore in college. Ms. Wang meets each student where they are working to get them caught up with their peers.
So when did Ms. Wang know she wanted to be a teacher? “That’s very funny (laughing) I had a dream actually. Wang you are a kindergarten teacher in that local school. I said oh really you know. I think I was meant to be a teacher.”
She literally followed her dreams. She beams so much pride and a sense of accomplishment when they learn. “When you see a student say something you teach you feel really excited aww we got it. We got it.”
Ms. Wang wanted to give fellow educators some advice on non-verbal communication. She says to try and greet them with a smile. It will go a long way. She goes on to say “God created everybody in different purposes maybe was made for that purpose. If kids like you, they will be willing to learn.”