Team Read Alumna ShanShan Tan

Job Title and Company
Academic Advisor, Seattle University

Team Read Experience
2002-03: Reading coach atat Beacon Hill Elementary School

When I found out that I could be paid for doing what I enjoyed, which for 16-year-old me was working with children, I immediately completed my application for Team Read. I chose to be a reading coach at Beacon Hill Elementary because I wanted to inspire students to read. I immigrated to Seattle when I was 10 years old, so reading was a struggle for me when I first started school. However, with the inspiration and support of my amazing 6th grade teacher, my reading improved and I fell in love with books and wanted to consume more. In 2002, Beacon Hill Elementary had a diverse population of students and many students were English Language Learners. I joined Team Read because I wanted to help other children like me learn to read and find the joy of books.

Through my experience at Team Read, I discerned that although I don’t want to be a teacher, I want to work in education to support students in achieving their goals, whether it be reading a full sentence by themselves without any support or being the first in their family to obtain a college degree. During my time as a coach, I also built a community of friends that I could identify with. Now, I will occasionally run into my fellow Team Read coaches on the bus or around the city, and we’ll stop and catch up on life. These individuals are also professionals in my network whom I can reach out to if I ever need it. Team Read was one of my many experiences volunteering in the field of education, and it guided me in determining which path in education I wanted to venture into.