San Gabriel teachers dedicate extra hours to students

Photo by Tom Cheah

Lessons do not make sense. Grades drop. Students panic. It sounds like a typical school day.

Fortunately, there are teachers who come to the rescue. All across San Gabriel, teachers offer small after-school tutoring sessions for students who may be looking for extra help.

“I want to give opportunities to have one-on-one tutoring to help [students] because I don’t have enough time in class to help everyone,” math teacher Huong Tran said.

Inspired to become a teacher by her high school calculus teacher, Ms. Tran aims to pass on her “love of learning” to her students.

“[My calculus teacher] made the class fun. He reaffirmed me as a student that I can do it,” Ms. Tran said. “I was struggling before that. I had a hard time when the teacher didn’t care for me in the way that this teacher did.”

Ms. Tran enjoys tutoring because she gets to know students outside of the classroom and “develop relationships with them.”

For math teacher Ronnie Woo, teaching and tutoring are how he gives back to the community.

“I had a lot of great teachers in the past who helped me out and who went out of their ways to help anyone out,” Woo said. “I think I’ve been blessed in that way.”

Woo also said he relates his desire to teach to his experience in martial arts. Reflecting back on his black belt test experience, he realized that his responsibility is passing on his knowledge to the next generation.

“I’ve been taught a lot of things by the people before me,” Woo said. “My way to give back is to pass on knowledge.”

Contrasting with Ms. Tran and Woo’s positive experiences with teachers, science teacher Alan Tran became a teacher because he was unimpressed with the performances of his chemistry teachers.

“My chemistry teacher was really horrible, and then my AP Chemistry teacher was even more horrible,” Mr. Tran said. “I decided that I could do better than that. And so, I did.”

Mr. Tran tutors so that his “students don’t have an excuse for failing.” Staying after school until 4 p.m. every day, Mr. Tran offers his students chances for extra assistance. In the grand scheme, Mr. Tran tries “to teach kids to be responsible for themselves.”

“Manage your time. Think positive,” Mr. Tran advises. “Being awesome is not a trait. Being awesome is a choice.”

History teacher Henry Osborne tutors to provide students “extra help that they sometimes can’t [get] during class.”

“I can look at two essays and spend ten or twenty minutes going through the [specifics]. That’s pretty tough to do in class,” Osborne said.

Though he offers to tutor after school, he notes that attendance is “very hit or miss.”

“I wish more students would [come] to after school tutoring in our department,” Osborne said. “If we can generate a more consistent attendance, I think we can put together a more consistent program.”

Despite the apocalypse that is high school, students need not fret as extra help is right around the corner.

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