Teacher Spotlight: YES Prep teacher engages students in Chinese language and culture

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Moving from China to the United States

My name is Xiaohan Tang. I was born in China thirty years ago and due to the One Child policy prevailing China at the time I was born, I am an only child. Being an only child came with a lot of attention and high expectations. My parents have always wanted the very best for me. Prior to immigrating to the United States, I received my bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture from Northeastern University at Qinhuangdao. I then immigrated in 2011 to pursue a master’s degree in Education from Texas A&M University and, at this point, I felt like I had made my parents proud.

After graduating, I started my teaching career in 2015. I learned about YES Prep and its mission of “All Means All” on LinkedIn and decided that’s where I would like to begin a new chapter. I have been teaching Mandarin Chinese to students in 8th – 12th grade since living in this country. I am so passionate to introduce the Chinese culture and language to my students. I often take my students to visit Chinatown to let them experience a taste of the real Chinese culture. Here’s a video about our Houston Chinatown Bid Trip from last year.

Pathways to opportunities outside of the classroom

In the summer of 2017, I took eight students from our advanced Chinese classes to China, to visit capital city Beijing, ancient capital city Xi’an and modern city Shanghai, so that they could experience the real Chinese life and see the historical and modern places we were learning about during the school year. After the trip, they became great bargainers! One thing that surprised me was that they were using fluent Chinese to bargain with the local Chinese vendors on the tours to get great prices for souvenirs.

Last school year, three students from YES Prep Northside were selected to participate in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program. “NSLI-Y immerses participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures.” The students were chosen to study the Chinese language abroad in Shanghai, Suzhou, and Taiwan for six weeks with a scholarship. Not only did they become fluent speakers in Chinese, but they all performed extraordinarily well on the Chinese Language Placement test. This experience significantly helped them with their college application. I couldn’t have been prouder!

Finding a support system at YES Prep

I love teaching at YES Prep Northside because I have a strong support system. My bosses are supportive and helpful towards the Chinese program here at Northside. Our School Director, Maureen Israel, has a great vision of keeping the Chinese program on our campus. She firmly believes providing our students with Chinese language skills will benefit their future. My Dean of Instruction is also very supportive of my instruction. The atmosphere on our campus is very positive and warm; I love it here! As a Chinese person here in the American classroom, everything I have experienced was completely new compared to living in China. I have struggled, I have learned, and I continue to grow every day.


Xiaochan TangXiaochan Tang has been a teacher at YES Prep Northside since 2015. Her teaching career started at YES right after she graduated from Texas A&M University, where she obtained her master’s degree. Prior to moving to the U.S. to attend A&M, Tang lived in China where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University at Qinhuangdao.


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