Uplift Mighty kindergarten teacher Esther Kim understands what a first year teacher goes through. Last year as she was teaching for the first time, she discovered how much was involved and had to work hard to balance the load and maintain her confidence.
“It seemed like there were never enough hours in a day and I constantly felt overwhelmed. Now I feel like I am able to balance my time in a more meaningful and productive way,” she said.
Senior Curriculum Coordinator, Julie Hills, said, “When I think of the ‘ideal’ kindergarten teacher, Ms. Kim comes to mind. She is being highlighted as someone who has built student investment through a determination for her scholars to reach their goals.”
The inspiration to become a better teacher, focused on scholar development, came primarily from her colleagues and scholars.
“I am so inspired by the scholars that I teach, and the fellow teachers and leaders that I have joined in creating a movement where every child can and will succeed, no matter what. They all continue to push me every day to learn, teach, and inspire. As a teacher, I want to show scholars how to build character and I want to prepare them for the next grade level and beyond,” she explained.
Ms. Kim is focused on scholar growth, but uses fun to encourage her class. She uses songs and exercise to help scholars before test time. Music allows scholars to more readily recall information they have learned.
“I use a lot of songs as a hook for reading and math, as well as for calendar and test prep. The scholars absolutely love it and I even hear them singing it during recess or whispering it to themselves as they are taking a test to help them answer correctly,” she explained.
Kinetic lessons also help with the learning.
“Something that they love to do during math is to count while moving; doing a jumping jack while counting to 100 by 10’s, do a karate chop as we count by 5’s,” she said.
Ms. Kim is starting to create a small legion of future Uplift Education educators. While these future educators might be too young to participate in Teacher Selection Day, their desire to learn and tell others makes her job rewarding.
“An amazing day in my classroom would be if every scholar would be able to walk out of the school at the end of the day, and be able to teach something that he or she learned to somebody else. Seeing one of your scholars so excited about learning, to the point where they are teaching it to someone new, is the most rewarding feeling for me and one of the biggest reasons why I do this job!” Ms. Kim acknowledged.