There are few people lucky enough to say that they achieved their childhood dream job. When asked by my elementary school teachers, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would always respond, confidently, that I wanted to be a teacher.
I was born and raised in San Jose, and I earned a degree in history and Native American studies from UC Berkeley. I then began a master’s degree in history at San Jose State.
My passion for history came when I explored my own heritage and personal history. As a first-generation Filipino-American, I struggled with feeling like I did not belong in my community because of my lack of connection to my culture. I began to understand more of my identity and in the process of immersing myself in books and scholarly articles I fell in love with history. Watching students discover new facts about themselves, their country or countries, and their communities is the reason I want to be an educator. By understanding concepts of identity, culture, and belonging, students feel more connected to their families and peers and foster a greater sense of community. I have found that English, sciences, and math have a similar ability to help students connect to and appreciate the world around them.
Prior to joining AJ Tutoring, I worked with middle school and high school students for over six years, overseeing multi-subject homework help and single-subject tutoring in ELA and social sciences. Every class I teach is a learning opportunity for me: I learn from the students’ thought process, methodology, and learning style and incorporate those lessons into my own curriculum. I treat my students’ ideas and questions with respect and with an open mind so that together we can learn from each other.
My teaching style focuses not on the facts — be they names and dates, scientific equations, or mathematical rules — but rather on developing students’ critical thinking skills and their understanding of connections and reasoning. In social sciences, for example, I emphasize a historical narrative while highlighting important information for students to engage with. I ensure that students have a solid foundational understanding of the material before moving on to more complicated coursework. More than anything, I believe that learning should be fun, so I try to make my classroom a safe, engaging, and enjoyable learning environment for my students.
When I am not tutoring, I enjoy practicing my art skills, reading history books, and practicing Korean-Pop choreography with friends.