Staff Spotlight: Ms. Yuh-Jen Lin

Ms. Lin teaches the first ever class in Mandarin at Colton High School



Ms. Yuh-Jen Lin runs her students through exercises in speaking Mandarin.

Samantha Reynoso, Pepper Bough Staff Writer

Colton, CA–For the first time in Colton High School history, it is offering a Mandarin program. 

This is great news since it brings “diversity, equality, and inclusion” to the school. Those are the wise words of the Mandarin teacher herself, Ms. Lin.

In addition to learning the language, many have asked if the Mandarin program will allow students to learn about Chinese culture. Ms. Lin said, “I always include projects and hands-on activities to encourage students’ involvement, such as Chinese paper-cutting crafts, paper-folding, traditional folk songs, Chinese calligraphy using a traditional writing brush, and preparing authentic foods for Chinese festivals. Incorporating these activities into my teaching gives them a greater understanding of the Chinese culture.” 

While diversity in the school’s language offerings is important, so is diversity in staff hiring. Ms. Lin was shocked to discover she was the only Asian teacher at Colton High School, and believes there should be more diversity. “We need more diversity—and also in teaching, like especially the world languages”

Some have wondered, “Well, how does learning Mandarin benefit us?” Spanish dominates as the second most used language in Colton since the majority of residents are Mexican and Latino.

Ms.Lin addressed this: “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are all principles we all should live by in the current environment. We now live in a world where people are increasingly interacting with people from all over the country and all over the globe in their daily life. One of the important benefits we can give our students in language classes—like my Mandarin class—is exposure to cultures and perspectives that they are not normally exposed to in their local community. And this broader understanding of cultures will prepare our students for life after school and beyond.” 

Ms. Lin is excited about being the very first Mandarin teacher ever at CHS, and feels it is an honor to be the first Mandarin teacher at CHS. “I just relocated in California. Before, I was teaching in Oklahoma. Then the Corona Virus started and I stopped teaching for like one year, and then your school started so I think yes, definitely! Yes, of course! It is an honor!”

Ms. Lin is the perfect kind of teacher we need here at CHS. She has a bright positive attitude and great ambition for teaching her students how to speak Mandarin.