Dougherty’s Chinese mothers lend a hand to our international students

While adjusting to an entirely new environment and simultaneously trying to keep up with studies in a fast-paced school, sometimes students studying abroad in the U.S. may find it necessary to get a little help. And luckily, some of Dougherty’s Chinese mothers have stepped up to give a hand.

Every Wednesday and Thursday during Access, a group of mothers come to Dougherty campus to help and assist international students with their studies. This volunteer project was initiated by a group of Chinese parents of DVHS students who wanted to help the ELD students from China. Beginning as just as friends who knew each other from WeChat, they decided to join together and start volunteering at school.

At each tutoring session, there are approximately five to six parents. In the first couple of sessions, volunteers generally try to get to know the students and identify the areas they need help with the most. They start by helping the students organize binders for their subjects and going through the steps of logging in to Schoolloop to keep track of their school work. Recently, students have also begun to request more aid in learning difficult concepts from their classes, so parents try their best to provide help. The structure of the tutoring is generally flexible to cater to the needs of the individual student. Students will usually ask the parent volunteers their questions and the parents help them and teach to the best of their ability.

Yangwei Leng, one of the parents in charge of this group of volunteers and a member of the PTSA, mentions that the volunteers were “requested by the ELD teacher and the assistant principal” to provide aid for the international students.

She notes, “When the ELD students first come to the country they have a lot of different needs and need a lot of help in every field, u the English language [as a priority]. We want to be able to help them in every way. The volunteers here kind of act as school parents for these kids, helping and guiding them to adapt to the school regulations and the environment faster.”

Another volunteer, Jianhua Jian, states that she started volunteering because she understands how the students are feeling in this new school and country.

“I try to be a bridge to provide a smoother transition for the students who just moved from China since I lived in both China and America, speak both languages and most importantly, share the same experience of studying abroad.”

She also notes, “I would also like to know what it’s like to be a high school student, what kind of school work they are asked to do and what kind of challenges they are facing at school. This volunteer project provides a small window for me to take a peek.”

One of the tutored students mentions,“The parents mostly help with my Algebra homework. What I usually need to improve on is studying for the test. Learning [skills] from homework helps me prepare for the test.” She notes that this tutoring system has been helpful and now she just she “just wants even more help” and “appreciates the parents that come to teach them”.

Even though several moms find it more difficult to help with specific and more advanced subjects such as Chemistry, economics and higher levels of Math, overall they do their best to teach the students as much as possible. The mothers have also begun to encourage Dougherty’s own students to be trained by taking a new class called Tutor for the 2016-17 school year, which will help these international students learn from their peers who are studying these subjects alongside them.

As mothers who have children of their own, families to take care of and often jobs to attend to, it is touching that these volunteers can take this time to lend a helping hand to our students out of the goodness of their hearts.