Interview with a TSS Teacher

Tell us about your journey before joining The Storybook School (TSS) community.

I used to be a preschool teacher in China and wanted to continue teaching preschoolers when I came to the US. When I was working on my teaching certificate in the US, I realized that the style of teaching was very different than what I learned in China. I was interested in trying to work at a preschool and felt motivated to try what I learned. I started working at a Mandarin immersion preschool in 2002 and really enjoyed my work. I think the US style of teaching children is very meaningful and less strict than China. I also believe that the children become much more creative when we give them opportunities to think for themselves. When they have the freedom to think on their own, they share so many thoughts and I really love being around them. I worked at two different immersion preschools before coming to The Storybook School. I had my son in 2014 and cared for him full time until he was ready to go to preschool.

How would you describe TSS? What makes the school community special?

TSS is like a baby. I started here since the school opened and it feels like abig family. The philosophy is very similar to what I believe. We are encouraged to observe and understand the children before trying to teach them. We are encouraged to teach the children during play moments and to guide them when they are with their friends. The teaching team is very good because we are supportive of each other and teachers should model with each other the way we want our children to be. Our administrators model the way they want us to be with the children too: respectful, kind, dedicated, and patient. Everyone is very cooperative!

Our environment is special because it’s open, comfortable, and bright. I also feel comfortable speaking my home Chinese languages. I love to sing and know many children songs so am always encouraged to sing with the children here too.I’m also happy that I can continue to practice English with families.

What is one of your most memorable stories of working with children or families at TSS?

Since we opened, we’ve been adding a few children every month. Every time we added new children, they would cry, had trouble sleeping, and needed time to get used to our group routines. I would offer them a hug and encourage them to hold their family picture or sit at the bye window. I remember one child who didn’t even want me close to him. He would push me away when I approached him. When I checked in on him verbally, he would cry louder and yell, “No!” and “Mommy!” I cared about him so kept checking up on him. After about two weeks, he stopped pushing me away and I remember him coming to sit at the breakfast table. Then one day, I realized he didn’t cry at all after drop off and kept following me around the classroom. I remember him smiling when I was talking to him. I was so happy to see him happy!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not teaching at TSS?

I love watching Korean soap operas and try to watch some when I have free time! I also enjoy spending time with my husband and son, Abner. We love to explore new playgrounds and drive to Sacramento a few times a month to help my mom.


Interview with a TSS Parent

Please tell us about your family.
My name is Justa and I am a native San Franciscan who grew up in Parkside. I work in a philanthropic advising firm, helping individuals and family foundations make a positive impact in their communities. My husband Drew is a native Northern Californian and went to school in Berkeley. He now works at a local biotechnology company developing medicine for unmet needs. We have a daughter Margot and as a family, we love to travel. We have gone to Sardinia and Hawaii, and we will be traveling to Hong Kong and Japan this year. We also love music. Drew plays the piano and we have both passed on our love of music to Margot, who loves to sing and make up songs of her own. Margot’s grandparents live nearby. Her grandmother (pau pau) picks Margot up every day and gives her treats!
Why did your family decide on a Chinese learning environment for your child?
We are in the Cantonese program and chose it because of the cultural aspect of learning the language. My family speaks Cantonese and we wanted Margot to be exposed to the language and culture, so that she will, hopefully one day, have an understanding of the culture that she comes from and is a part of.
How would you describe The Storybook School (TSS)? What makes the school community special?
The school program is centered around the relationships that the teachers form with the students. The care and philosophy is evident in all of the teacher interactions. The teachers are admirably patient, loving and kind. What’s more is that they are really finding creative ways to engage the children in constructive ways to navigate conflict with their peers. The community is new and forming, and we have been impressed that the directors are engaging the parents in dialogue about where the school should focus resources. 
What is the most memorable story of your child at TSS?
Margot was the second student enrolled at TSS. The other being Patrick, Marianne’s (the director) son. I’ll never forget the day when Margot came home one day talking about how the whole class walked by our house and how she showed everyone her Halloween pumpkin. I thought she was making up a story and was surprised the next day to find Teacher Anna asking about our house and describing it in great detail. This was the first time that we were able to have a reflective, detailed conversations with Margot about her experience and since then it has become a highlight of my day to ask Margot what happened at school!