Mandarin Program Shuffles through Multiple Teachers

The school’s Mandarin I and II classes had their teachers replaced six weeks into the school year and will likely find themselves with yet another new teacher for second semester.

The original teacher, Chiaoli Wang, had to stop teaching at the end of September due to the termination of her contract with Foothill College. Both Mandarin classes at the school are extensions of courses at Foothill, and Mandarin teachers are hired and employed by the college.

Foothill has hired Judy Yu as a teacher for the fall term. She was given notification of her position on Friday, October 10, and began teaching the following Monday. But Yu said she was already well-prepared because of her previous experience teaching at St. Francis High School, De Anza College, and the Oakland College of Laney.

“I love working with high school students,” Yu said. “For me, it was lucky. There is a lot here.”

According to Paul Starer, the Dean of Language Arts at Foothill, the college is currently searching for another teacher to take her place for the winter and spring terms, but Yu expects to teach the Mandarin classes until the new semester in January.

Veronica Zhang, who served as a temporary substitute teacher after Wang left, taught the class for one week starting on Friday, October 3. Zhang also teaches at Foothill College and has taught all levels of Chinese.

According to Principal Wynne Satterwhite, the many switches are occurring because Mandarin teachers are in high demand right now. It has been a struggle to even find a teacher to replace both Wang and Zhang.

“I have never liked switching teachers,” Satterwhite said. “But I am committed to building a four-year program here.”

Wang was sad to leave the school and hopes to resubmit an application for employment at Foothill once some issues with her permit to work are sorted out.

“I had a wonderful time at Loss Altos,” Wang said in an e-mail. “I miss my students very much… They are smart and enthusiastic on learning.”

It is uncertain whether Wang will be able to return to the school in the future.

“I really enjoyed having her here,” Satterwhite said. “I didn’t want her to leave.”

Neither did many of her students.

“[Wang] is diligient, she’s not one of those teachers who don’t care.” Mandarin II student junior Flora Champenois said.

In the meantime, Wang is keeping her options open.

“Los Altos is a great school to learn and grow,” Wang said. “I would love to return to the school if I am allowed to.”