New teacher Alan Tan places understanding over perfect grades


Samantha Alde

Alan Tan teaches Conceptual Chemistry and Chemistry Honors.

New to SCHS staff this year, Alan Tan is 6 feet 1 inch tall, going on his 5th year of teaching. Experience is the best prerequisite one could have, Tan said, and his past four teaching years were spent at Leland High School in San Jose.

Tan said he has always been interested in chemistry because it explains and discovers many things that happen in the world.

With teaching, he loves getting students from point A — a state of learning and possibly confusion — to point B: a state of understanding.

“The aha moments,” Tan said. “That’s really enjoyable for me to see.”

Tan teaches Conceptual Chemistry and Chemistry Honors for STEM. Conceptual Chemistry decreases emphasis on math and increases applications in lab situations, according to Tan. He believes a combination of both conceptual and regular chemistry is ideal when teaching.

A person who tries is Tan’s idea of a perfect student.

“They don’t have to have an A,” Tan said. He believes even if students get a C and they tried their best, grades don’t make a defining difference. It’s the effort that matters to him.

He recalled one of his “achievements” in his work field was helping students place in Synopsys, a science competition, and when he was applying to California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, or COSMOS, a high school science internship.

Tan has always helped his students in the past. Although he said he is happy where he is now, he would “love to, if anything, expand and try to reach more [students]” and improve his teaching.