Learning from scratch

Students in the Chinese foreign language class try to learn without a teacher in the class


Nayeli Ahuatl

Estudiantes trabajan en companeros en la clase de idioma extranjero chino. Contactan con su maestra por la computadora

Taking a foreign language class isn’t easy for most students at SHS, especially for students who don’t have someone there to speak the language. 

This year, the SHS foreign language department is making changes for students who choose to take the Chinese foreign language class. As the past teacher retired, students will be learning the language via an online program. 

“I would prefer having a teacher being there for us,” Cing said. “It’s better than nothing I guess.”

Last year there was a Chinese teacher and speaker for the students. Alex Mao was the only teacher available at SHS who taught the Chinese language. Mao decided later on that he would retire. This made it difficult for students who are taking the language since they can’t get any help from someone else in the building.

As the new school year begins, the students are now trying to make progress. However, the students have not gotten the start they were hoping for as they struggle to login into Google classroom. For this reason, students have not been able to do any work for the past two weeks. Junior Lian Cing says that she hasn’t been working on her assignments as the program is not fully developed. 

“We’re working on it,” Cing said. “It’s not in full session. There’s some stuff on Google classroom, and most of the stuff we can’t get it done yet because the Google classroom is not working.”

As of right now, the new program might affect the students since don’t have a teacher to speak the language. Their new online teacher is from out of state. Students are trying to maintain their grades through these potential issues.. Senior Van Thawng Lian says that he’s going to be facing new challenges in the classroom.

“I think there is a lot of new things that we have to face that wasn’t here last year,” Lian said. “Now our teacher is from a different state and she’s not from here so it’s kind of hard to ask for help because it’s through texting or email.”

The program may be affecting and stressing some students in the foreign language class, but it still gives students the chance to learn new words and phrases that they didn’t know last year. Lian mentions that the teacher has been sending videos that seem to help him.

“It is actually kind of helping me cause she’s sending us videos that we can learn Chinese from,” Lian said, “I’m learning new words and characters from all that.”

Even though the students don’t have a teacher inside the classroom, SHS supervisor teacher Tom Davis is supervising the students to make sure that they are doing their work. His only task is to supervise them. He believes that the students are fully prepared to work on the program and work with their new online teacher. 

“It seems that they had a good preparation from last year so it shouldn’t be hard.” Davis said. “The other side of the online program should be flexible too.”

As the students try to face new challenges by not having a Chinese speaker this year, they still manage to work out the program. Even though the students have to work with their new online teacher and ask for help in a new way, Davis feels that the students are fully prepared for the program and new challenges.

“So far from the Chinese language kids, they seem very sincere and hard working,” Davis said. “They were ready, and it’s been a positive start, and I hope that we get the chance to get going.”