Chinese Immersion School at De Avila

Kindergarten Teachers


Growing up in Toronto my parents dragged me to Chinese school on the weekends starting at a very young age. In retrospect, I am grateful that I not only learned one more language but also kept my cultural heritage. As I grew older, my love for the Chinese language and culture grew resulting in me taking more Chinese courses in university and studying abroad in Hong Kong and Beijing. Now, I am very happy to use my language skills to teach children to be bilingual and bi- literate in an exciting, fun, and engaging immersion environment.

Since my parents are both educators, my interest in teaching began early on. Throughout high school, I volunteered to read with children and to help them with their homework. My love for working with children continued as I attended Cornell University where I studied psy-
chology and Asian studies. Upon graduation, I moved to San Francisco where I had my first formal classroom experi- ence as a teaching assistant for The Hamlin School. In addition to Hamlin, I also have had much experience working with students from kindergarten through high school in a variety of tutoring, after school program, summer school, day camp, and classroom settings. I have student taught in West Portal School’s K/1 Chinese Immersion classroom and was a long-term substitute teacher at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School in a kindergarten classroom. In my spare time, I enjoy taking pictures, reading books, watching movies, exploring the city, listening to music, playing piano, and of course, working with children.

I strongly believe that a good learning experience is built on a collaborative effort amongst the parents, child, and teacher. I am excited and looking forward to the work and growth we will all accomplish this year! Please feel free to contact me via my district email or in person afterschool.


My interest in working in education started when I was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley where I worked as a literacy tutor for the America Reads Program as well as a mentor for Stiles Hall. In 2001, I had my first experience as a classroom instructor teaching English to physically disabled youth in Guangzhou (Canton), China. It was an amazing experience for me, and I still have very fond memories of my time there.

Upon my return to the United States, I spent 4 years teaching literacy and vocational English at Jewish Vocational Service to Chinese garment workers who had lost their jobs due to outsourcing overseas. While there, it was rewarding to see my students start to feel more confident and empowered as both learners and members of society. It is this type of feeling that I hope to instill in all of my students wherever I go.

After JVS, I did educational non-profit work in New York City, but ultimately missed both living in the Bay Area as well as working in the classroom. When I was accepted into San Francisco State University’s teacher credentialing program in 2009.


Every year I looking forward to being a kindergarten teacher; it is one of the most memorable times of my elementary school years. To this day, I still remember Mrs. Friel my kindergarten teacher who cared for me and respected my culture.  Born in Vietnam, but from Chinese descent, I immigrated to America at the age of 5 and have made San Francisco my home since then. I have 2 children and my oldest, Haley, is a 2nd grader at CIS at De Avila. I think it says a great deal about a school when teachers have their own children go to the same school that they teach at. I feel very fortunate to be part of such an involved and dedicated school community.

Having been a kindergarten teacher and a substitute teacher in grades K-5 for the SFUSD for almost 10 years, I continue to see how much education means to me.  I chose to be an educator not just because of teachers like Mrs. Friel, but also because of teachers like the one I had in first grade.  The image of her slamming the almighty yardstick on my desk to keep me from opening my mouth because I was a “talker” scared the daylights out of me!  Yet, I loved her anyway because she was my teacher.  Her approach was to keep us quiet because that was what she liked.  She did not realize though, that her teaching method was ineffective.  By not allowing me to talk and practice the language usage only hindered my learning.  On a side note, she went through quite a few yardsticks that year.  Needless to say, the experiences I have had with teachers from my elementary to my college years have shaped my teaching philosophy: All children can learn to their fullest potential so long as they are given the appropriate opportunities.

One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt and has recently been mentioned by Oogway from the movie, Kung Fu Panda: “Yesterday is History. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’.”  As I see it, the past is important, so learn from it. The future is unknown, so prepare for it. This moment in time is a gift, so embrace, live it, and be thankful for it. I also like

“One who does harma, gets bad karma.”  I think it is self-explanatory and I live by it every day.

 I can be contacted via district e-mail or at school. All volunteers are welcome! 

Jialing Julianne Zhu - KINDERGARTEN Teacher

Hello to all teachers, staff, parents, students, and visitors. I am very excited to begin my teaching career this year at CIS.


I was born in a little town in rural China where I went through formal schooling up until first grade.  I immigrated to San Francisco at the age of six, then after some years finished off high school in the city. I then moved on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese at the University of Washington. It was during my time in college when I rediscovered and reconnected with my Chinese heritage. I have learned to appreciate the benefits of bilingualism and bi-literacy because they allow me to see the world in multiple perspectives. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with my colleagues, students, and their families.


Some of the things I enjoy on the side includes but not limited to: cooking, baking, painting, photography, cats, snacking, and most importantly, sleeping. My interests and hobbies are limitless and always evolving, and I would love to share my hobbies with my students in the classroom. I look forward to a great year!