Thank you to our Foreign Language department!

By Carol Li
STAFF WRITER
PC_ Betty (Chang)

PHOTO BY BETTY LEE

Mr. Chang

How did you find your passion for teaching your language?

“[Many] of my relatives are teachers. My grandma was an elementary school teacher, and my mom attended a professional teaching school in Taiwan. My mom wanted me to [work] in the educational field, so I was inspired to become a teacher.  Teaching was something I wanted to do as a career, too, so I [chose] my first job as [a teacher]. I want students to [adapt] my study style. [I want students to] learn from me, [so I] can hopefully help them with their future and academic career.”

PC_ Betty (Hinojosa)

PHOTO BY BETTY LEE

Mr. Hinojosa

What aspects of your career do you enjoy most?

“I like interacting with the youth and making an impact on their lives. I can see myself more of a mentor to the students than being a teacher. I really like to motivate kids to try their best and acquire [another] language, because I think learning a second language is important. For students going into [the workforce], it is useful for them to know different languages and help the people they service. Whether they are doctors, lawyers or any [other professions], it is always nice to speak an [additional] language.”  

PC_ Chris (Ortega)


PHOTO BY CHRIS CHAN

Ms. Ortega

What aspects of your career do you enjoy most?

“The best part [of my career] is the students. [I enjoy] their enthusiasm when they get an ‘Aha!’ moment with the language, culture or any topic in my class. I love when students enjoy [my class] and use [Spanish] comfortably without being forced. On the other hand, the students keep me young. I get to learn more and [be updated] about what is going on [around us]. It is fun to have that perspective from them.”

PC_ Chris (Orth)

PHOTO BY CHRIS CHAN

Ms. Orth

What are some memorable high school moments?

“I graduated from Wilson, and this year will be my thirtieth class reunion. I definitely would say [being in band] in 1986 was the most memorable high school experience. At that time, [our] band and color guard were [large in number]. We [were] honored to play for President Reagan’s second inauguration and to represent California as well. From there, we had an opportunity a year later to march in the Rose Parade. We practiced our endurance [by marching] around the school’s parking lot. At the time, we were the only band who could play and perform the whole parade route.”

PC_ Peter (Shin)

PHOTO BY PETER OH

Ms. Shin

What impacted you the most to decide to become a teacher for foreign language?

“I came to the United States when I was fifteen years old. [At that time], I did not speak English at all, but I was placed in a Spanish class. My Spanish teacher for a week was a Korean American who was fluent in all three languages: English, Spanish and Korean. My Japanese teacher in high school was Caucasian. I thought,‘If they can do it [then]  I can do it [too], since I was born and raised in Korea.’ That was when I decided to teach Korean at a high school.”

PC_ Peter (Wann)

PHOTO BY PETER OH

Ms. Wann

What impacted you the most to decide to become a teacher for foreign language?

“I enjoy [being a teacher], because I like hearing feedback from students and parents more than anything else. At first, I taught science, but I eventually switched to teaching Chinese, because I think Chinese is important for students. I want to help guide students who are interested in the Chinese language. I also want to teach students to be self-motivated and pursue their careers without parents or teachers pushing them.”

PC_ Betty (Johnson)

PHOTO BY BETTY LEE

Ms. Johnson

What was the most memorable encounter with students you had in your teaching career?

“I had a student who was a gangster. He became a gangster because he came from an extremely dysfunctional family. His dad wished he was dead and put a gun on his head.  However, I was able to work with him and change his mind that it was important to graduate and get a diploma. I met him in his sophomore year when he was in my class. He was very quiet, and I knew something was going on. [Later in the year], I earned his trust and finally sat down and talked to him. I knew he was not doing well in school, and people had given up on him because of his behavior and actions. We had a long conversation, and I told him that I would help him, only if he allowed me to. I made sure he was in my study hall, so I could see if he did his work and helped [raise] his grades. It was very emotional for him when he graduated with his cap and gown.”   

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