Span Tutor Helps San Francisco International High School Grads “Climb Up” to Success
At San Francisco International High School’s ACE Learning Center, it’s recognized that continuing education is linked to job readiness. The Span Tutor and Span Mentor Programs create jobs that build students’ professional skills and make them more employable beyond the SFIHS community. This is part of a series of SFIHS Mentors and Tutors who report on their experiences with the paid program.
By Guest Blogger Yanming, San Francisco International High School Alumni and Span Tutor
My name is Yanming and I graduated from San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) in May 2015. I have been attending City College of San Francisco (CCSF) since 2015, studying Electronic Engineering.
I remember the first day I attended to SFIHS, I couldn’t speak English well and no friends talked with me, even though there were lots of students who spoke my first language because they had created small groups already. After one week of school, I realized the class style was very similar to my home country: take classes with your classmates, but unlike in China we went to different classrooms. Taking classes with the same students made me know some of their names and I started to join into their conversation. But, I was not used to it so I just made one or two friends in each group. Life was changing fast. My high school had a final project called portfolios. The portfolio is a project that starts on the end of the fall semester, to help the students to collect all the paper and summarize them to write some reflections and present it front of your classmates, like a little speech. That is very helpful for students to practice speaking, writing and listening. However, it separated my friend with me so I didn’t like it. It gave me a pressure to work with someone who could only use English to talk with me. Maybe I was not comfortable enough to talk with my classmate and use English at that time. However, after that, I felt thankful, and I got used to using English to talk with people around me.
Working in SFIHS now is very challenging. This high school doesn’t just receive the students who immigrate to the United States. It also receives the students who come from all around the world without documents who come to the U.S. and are hiding from war. Most of them did not get enough education in their home country compared the students have the same age with them so they know very limited English and mathematics. Now, I am a tutor to give back to my alma mater: it is not for fame or fortune. It helps the students who are seeking education and opportunity. My job is to help them get used to the education system, focus, respect the class time and finish their homework. And also, I am taking a CCSF class with them, which let them know about the university style, and I give them advice about the class and homework.
To take a class with them is very challenging and I almost wanted to give up. They believe college is obviously like our high school, but now they notice the differences and try extremely hard to fix the mistakes they made. Someone said, “Where I fell, I have to climb up from.” I can see the students exactly achieving that.