Literacy at its most basic definition is the ability to read and write in a particular language. At ten years old, I understood literacy as much more than that the ability to navigate between worlds. I come from a family of refugees who emigrated from Cambodia, myself being the only American-born child in the family. And though I was born right here in Philadelphia, I did not begin to navigate between Cambodian and English until I entered the mainstream education system at the age of five.
Many of the children in Philadelphia navigate between two or more worlds whether they are linguistic, cultural and/or societal and they oftentimes do it alone. As an English Language Learner, I recall standing by the classroom window and taking in the mumbling around me (what I now realize was my peers speaking English). I took refuge in just observing the other children around me as they played and laughed with one another. This is what it feels like to be different, to have a deficit. Lonely.
My experience as a learner and an educator has taught me that teaching is more than filling our youths with knowledge that we expect them to regurgitate. It is much more than getting an A in reading or math class. Teaching is a meaningful experience that engages teacher and student in conversations about our languages, cultures and societies. It is about encouraging the timid to speak by validating their prior knowledge and experiences. It is about teaching young adults to analyze the worlds they live in and providing them with tools to make positive changes and contributions to the community and society at large. All children and youth deserve teachers, parents and community leaders who listen to their ideas and concerns, encourage them to pursue their curiosities, and provide opportunities for personal and career exploration.
My educational philosophy has been shaped by my struggles and I would never trade those struggles for comforts. The uncomfortable moments, such as standing in a room not understanding what the world around me is communicating, made me realize that: 1) Teachers have the obligation to create a safe and engaging learning environment that incorporates various types of student interactions; 2) Teachers need to model the sort of behavior and participation they want to see in their students because attitudes and behaviors are contagious; 3) Students benefit most when teachers listen, pay attention and provide differentiated instruction; and 4) Lessons and curricula are most effective when students can relate to the content.
As much as I am a teacher, I am also a learner. I think that is what makes the best type of leader someone who is humble and open to others beliefs and opinions. In addition, a leader is someone who develops goals, objectives and clear expectations for her team. A leader inspires others, but she is also someone who makes others feel empowered to become leaders themselves. As a Lead Literacy Teacher at a nonprofit organization, I lead by example by modeling teaching strategies, leading discussions about teaching with other staff members, and encouraging others to lead their own professional development workshops. Leadership, therefore, is a skill that unites a team and takes active steps for a common cause.
In any educational setting, I bring in my experience as a leader, team player, tutor, educator, social worker, and more. I plan to use the skills I have honed along the way to create a successful educational environment that includes fun learning activities, team building exercises, and engaging goals and objectives that meet the interest of the young adults in the classroom and pique their curiosities for their own personal and professional development.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University - Bachelor in Arts, English
Graduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania - Masters in Education, Education
Reading, writing, roller skating, visiting local parks, community building, and community engagement
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Technology and Computer Science