I moved around the East Coast and the Midwest a lot when I was growing up, and I had a difficult home life. In every school I attended it felt like I was the only Asian-American student, and I pretty much had every racist insult possible hurled at me.
During those years, I really needed a teacher who would invest in me as a person. I felt like I was just left to my own devices, struggling and not understanding.
Now I’m working on my multiple subject teaching credential and I’m student teaching in a first-grade classroom with an amazing resident teacher who is a great role model. I see that as a teacher I can have a huge influence on my students, positive or negative, and I want it to be positive. I want to help them understand that they’re capable of achieving anything given the right set of tools. I want them to know that they have infinite value.
To be a good teacher, I need to understand my students’ lives, both inside and outside the classroom. I need to know what their demeanor means, what their struggles are and who needs extra attention.
One of the gifts that I bring is encouragement. Today I was working with a student who was stuck and frustrated. I told him, “You’re almost at the finish line. We’re going to make it.”