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Meet the ESL teacher who helps students transition into JCPS school instruction

Ms. Huanmei Wang meet students where they are when it comes to learning by giving them a solid foundation.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As we come to the close of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month we've have learned a lot about culture, lifestyle and to learn more about our neighbors. 

WHAS11's Sherlene Shanklin spoke to a JCPS teacher who helps make a child's transition a little smoother.

Huanmei Wang was born in China and serves as an ESL teacher at Camp Taylor Elementary. 

“I help ESL students to learn English. ESL stands for 'English as a second language,'" Wang said.

Ms. Wang, as students call her, explains her role and importance. She said many of the students have never been to school until they get to her.

"This program is designed especially for those who like speak a language other than English at home. A lot of students come from foreign countries and a lot of people are even refugees," Wang said.

She's a support system for many. She tells a story of a young child born in the U.S. that went back to her country so her grandmother could care for her while her parents worked. Upon her return, Ms. Wang was a link to home. 

“That person came, she wouldn't talk to anybody else except for me because maybe I talk maybe in her language. They say, 'This student can't talk.' Yes, she can, just with me. I think I am a support for her. A person she can come too," Wang said. Today, that young lady is a sophomore in college. 

Ms. Wang meets each student where they are working to get them caught up with their peers.

So, when did Ms. Wang know she wanted to be a teacher? She literally followed her dreams. 

“That's very funny," Wang laughed. "I had a dream actually. Wang you are a kindergarten teacher in that local school. I said, 'Oh really, you know. I think I was meant to be a teacher.'”

She beams so much pride and a sense of accomplishment when they learn. 

“When you see a student say something you teach you feel really excited," Wang said.

Ms. Wang wanted to give fellow educators some advice on non-verbal communication. She says to try and greet them with a smile. It will go a long way. She goes on to say “God created everybody in different purposes maybe was made for that purpose. If kids like you, they will be willing to learn," Wang said.

►Contact Moments that Matter’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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