Why I teach
I teach because I love learning and I love connecting with people. As the oldest in the family, I have been teaching as far back as I can remember. When I am able to convey an idea and someone grasp the knowledge I try to impart and learns to apply it, my soul feels like it is on fire. It is like catching the perfect wave or scoring the winning point when I learn and then break down what I learn into manageable pieces that others can understand. A retired friend of mine once said, "I teach because there are so many bad teachers out there." I agree with her in many ways. I want to be that teacher that student remembers, that someone who helped them think and build as many essential skills that they needed to move forward to the next stage in life in an engaging and challenging way. Sometimes my methods are really different than other teachers because I really love most subjects and tend to have an interdisciplinary way of combining subjects of interests that can apply to the work place and college.
I had my first class when I was teaching Sunday School at sixteen. Now and then, I still get a note from some of my students. "Still the best teacher ever," one sent me when she was teaching abroad in Japan. I guess in many ways, teaching is an invisible job, but we all have our own fan club, even if it's a fan club of one or two. The fulfillment of reaching a life, of making a difference, of spurring someone on to greatness, whatever that looks like for each one, is beyond monetary values, and that is why I teach.
My journey of teaching involves multiple career transitions. I started teaching in 2000. With an blink of an eye, it has already been two decades. Teaching is actually my third career. Nursing was my first pursuit. After I got married, I went back to school to switch to teaching English. After graduating, I got an emergency credential and I taught 9th and 10th grade. Then family took precedence and I took a break to have children and ran an insurance business for ten years. At that time, I also served as a homeschool teacher, teaching K-5 all subjects. It was daunting at first to switch from teaching literature and composition to teaching phonics and how to read and write. It was at that time that I fell in love again with project based learning as a homeschool teacher. Finally, I went back into public school teaching in 2010 to teach grades 9-12. I also tutored for SAT, for reading comprehension and writing, especially college essays. I like that teaching is not my first career because I can say I really enjoy it after I have explored other pursuits.
Most teachers leave the job because of grading and classroom management, but I have found that students are respectful of my soft style of classroom management and I've learned to organize and pace my grading. First, I can say that students feel safe in my classroom. They enjoy the nurturing and challenging learning environment. They like my candor and my interpersonal ways of teaching and most of all, they feel supported. So, classroom management, although, still challenging, is a mountain I am used to climbing. I have learned to be more organized with grading and giving feedback. I plan with the end in mind, and step by step, we get there. The students know I am on their team.
I am shy to admit one of my hobbies is watching Asian Drama. It is a comforting pleasure I splurge on when I am on vacation. I also enjoy listening to Asian music. On the daily, I enjoy reading and writing, especially poetry. I feel like my brain is "stupid" if I do not read a book, an article or poem daily, as it is like vitamin for the brain. In my before kids day, I would read a book a day. Now, post multiple children, four to be exact, I read a book a week, minimum. When I'm busy grading and teaching, I read a book a month, minimum. To call me a bookworm might be an understatement. My favorite genres are nonfiction, inspiration books and romance. I am still a hopeless romantic who loves a happy ending and why not, since I'm living one? My favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Max Lucado and John Grisham. I have read all of their books and wait for the release of each new one like a kid salivating for candy. My other favorites are John Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, Lois Lowry, S.E. Hinton, Elie Wiesel, C.S. Lewis and more. If I like an author, I will read all of their books, obsessively. Lately, I've been into reading fantasy genre, in Chinese. I read Mandarin Chinese and English novels. I've been thinking about reading "Count of Monte Cristo" or "Les Miserables" in Chinese. Chinese is not my first language, as I actually had to learn it after I immigrated to the United States in the second grade. It was torturing giving my weekends to learn Chinese for six years, but the beauty of knowing another language to appreciate its literature and culture is worth the investment. I have my grandma to thank for that painful treasure. I also devour articles of interest. I especially love articles on: teaching reading, writing and project based learning. I like sharpening my saw so I can give my students the best of me. I also read consistently about motivation, inspiration and mental health and family life. I feel that it's critical to keep those issues at optimum state, so the more I learn and apply, the better. It's not like your parents teach you those things, so I'm always trying to grow in those areas.
I also love baking and walking. Actually, loving exercise in any form is an outright lie, but since I am a foodie and love to cook and eat, walking makes up for my voracious appetite. I am hungry all the time. So, I had to add walking to the hobby list because exercise just has to be a lifestyle choice. I want to be fit to keep up with my four children, especially my younger ones. I do not want to be decrepit and old. I want to be that old lady with the lean legs and arms and not that old lady who leans. I'm still working on that. Saying it is a hobby and making it a hobby makes it more fun for my mind to accept. Sometimes you have to trick yourself into doing what's good for you.
My deepest passion for teaching is to see that my students fall in love with reading and writing. In my class, students will read and write daily. I believe that reading and writing is the foundation for all other subjects. Thus, we practice endlessly. I believe practice brings improvement. My teaching motto is:
"Tell me and I forget.
Show me and I remember.
Let me do and I understand."
I look forward to an awesome year!