Mr. Choi on his 1st birthday
My dream of becoming a teacher began in South Korea, where I was born. Growing up, I always had strong bonds with my teachers, like the art teacher who gave me confidence to enter into competitions and the history teacher who doubled as a counsellor to my rebellious adolescence. My admiration and respect towards teachers continued after my family’s immigration to Canada. Unaccustomed to the less formal Western classroom culture, I would bow to my first ESL teacher, who embraced my cultural upbringing and bowed back to me. She showed me the kind of patience and understanding that I think are hallmarks of a good educator. Other teachers were also considerate of my developing language skills and supported me in various ways. I felt understood, despite my lack of English. My Korean-Canadian identity didn’t prevent me from fitting in; rather, it was an asset that fuelled my visual art practices.
I went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Media Arts at Emily Carr University, specializing in film and video production. My passion for music composition and audio engineering led me to further my studies at Vancouver Film School’s sound design program. Upon graduation, I spent the following years working on various types of film, animation, and interactive web media, several of which won awards. As rewarding as it was to gain such recognition, I felt increasingly distanced from my work as the job grew more technical and repetitive. It left me longing for the kind of creativity and human interaction that I enjoyed while volunteering with children and youth at summer art camps.
Members of Drawing Club learn how to draw different types of background
Working in the Classroom
I turned my attention to gaining new experience teaching and working with children. One of the highlights was volunteering at Brentwood Park Elementary in Burnaby. It gave me an opportunity to be in the classroom first hand and to see the day-to-day challenges a teacher faces. Although it was eye-opening, it cemented my re-discovered love for teaching. After some soul-searching, I decided to pursue education. I also had the opportunity to spend time helping children with autism work on arts and crafts projects. It was a challenge to find ways to successfully communicate with the students, and I gained a greater appreciation for the value of art as a form of expression.
Strengths and Beliefs
I believe that my background in visual arts and time-based media – film, video and music – will be beneficial both in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities. Beginning in high school, I have been an active participant in art exhibitions, theatre productions, and band concerts. I am also an advocate for the environmental awareness and recycling program, having worked at bottle depots and overseen numerous bottle-drives in schools. I also enjoy working in a group setting, as a leader or a participant, and hope to contribute both in and out of the classroom setting. The prospect of being involved in such community-strengthening activities excites me for my upcoming practicum experience.
Students filming the first scene of their script
Teachers I Remember
Looking back, my favourite teachers always had a great balance of knowledge, charisma, and the ability to listen. Those teachers changed my life and I hope to one day follow their example and provide positive guidance to my students. I enter my teacher candidacy as both a student and an educator. I believe in life-long learning and wish to stay humble by keeping an open mind. Sir Ken Robinson (2006), the famous educator and author, said that we “don’t grow into creativity [but] we grow out of it… or rather, we get educated out of it”. My goal is to provide students with a safe and welcoming environment for their creativity and individuality to grow and flourish. I shall listen as much as I speak, observe as much as I express, and learn as much as I teach.
Robinson, K. (2006) How Schools Kill Creativity. http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html