When I came to the United States from Japan at five years old, I could not speak a word of English. My first day of school, my father had made me three cards with hand drawn pictures: one that said “I feel sick”, one that said “Where is the bathroom?” and one that said “I want to go home”. At the time, those cards were my only mode of communication. From there, I very quickly learned English, going from reading the “red books” (the easiest level books in Kindergarten) to reading the “purple books” (the most difficult) within the first several months. However, this would never have been possible without the amazing teachers and parents who spent hours with me going over flashcards, working on phonics lessons, and reading with me. To this day, my role models as a teacher are the individuals who gave me the help, support, and resources necessary for me to succeed when I really needed it.
I believe it is largely because of this experience in my early childhood that I have always enjoyed teaching. Teaching is a way for me to give back to the community and to make a difference. I know how much of a difference it makes to meet even one great teacher, even more so to meet a community of ambitious teachers and students willing to work together to reach their goals. This is why, as early as elementary school, I have always been involved with teaching. It started with helping my friends with difficult math problems when they stuck or tutoring my little brother. As I got older, my teaching experiences got more official, and during college, I had the opportunity to teach ELL/ESL to refugees in my community as well as being a teaching assistant for a biology lab course; both have been life-changing experiences.
Now, I speak fluent and accent-less English and Japanese. I recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a major in genetics, cell biology and development. I currently work in a research lab doing innovative research to try to find cures and treatments for muscular dystrophy, and I plan on attending medical school so that I can save and touch people’s lives. I have clearly come very far since the first day of school in America. However, I have never forgotten where I started; nor have I forgotten the fact that I would not be where I am right now if not for the patient, determined, and creative teachers I had who not only helped me academically but also made me feel safe and connected. This is the kind of teacher I want to be, and I hope that I can make the kind of difference in my students’ lives that my teachers have made for me.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Minnesota - Bachelors, Genetics, Cell Biology and Development
ACT Composite: 31
ACT English: 33
ACT Math: 33
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1440
SAT Math: 760
SAT Writing: 700