March 18, 2022

Taehee Kim

Part-Time Elementary MAT ’23

Having worked with elementary children since she was in high school, Taehee Kim loves providing help and guidance for children to find their strengths, continue to strive to learn and grow, and to reach their potential. The part-time MAT program has made it possible for her to pursue her MAT.

Taehee Kim, Elementary MAT '23 Taehee Kim, Elementary MAT ’23Taehee Kim, Part-Time Elementary MAT ’23, describes herself as a person who loves providing help and guidance for children to find their strengths, continue to strive to learn and grow, and to reach their potential. She has worked with elementary children since she was in high school, but giving up her full-time position and benefits to pursue a degree wasn’t a feasible option for her.

“Unfortunately, most graduate programs require their students to go full time and that wasn’t possible for me,” Kim explains. “So when Lewis & Clark came to the Beaverton School District with this part-time MAT pilot program, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.”

Kim is embracing the journey towards becoming an elementary school teacher, and has made deep connections with her cohort and faculty along the way. Noting that it is difficult to be invisible in a small crowd, she feels that faculty know the entire cohort very well, and that doing the program with a small cohort has helped her collaborate and connect deeply with her fellow students.

“Because we’re small in number, we continue to get chances to team up with each cohort member and get to know each other. Our small cohort really feels like a team that supports, encourages, and roots for each other.”

The graduate school’s social justice mission is another valuable component for Kim, and one that she has found to be incorporated into all her coursework thus far.

From child development to math, each class taught me how to incorporate social justice issues into future school lessons. There were many assignments, as well as class discussions on the issues of equitable schools, diversity, equal opportunities, and tolerance from each class that increased my understanding as well as my awareness.”

When asked how she plans to incorporate social justice into her own future classroom, Kim eloquently offers a quote: “Kids bring an incredible sense of empathy and justice to this world. They understand fairness at an early age and are often the members of our society who feel and show an organic wonder and compassion for others (sometimes even before they are speaking or conventionally literate).” (Ahmed, 2018, p.102)

She believes focusing on cultivating what children already have from a young age is much easier than trying to change the bias they’ve formed in later years. To raise compassionate citizens, she plans to encourage her students to practice kindness while raising crucial awareness of issues such as injustice and unfair treatment, prejudice and racism, identity and diversity, and equity.

“I will incorporate it as a real, human-centered, positive lesson that will help students become aware, recognize, address, and bring change.”

While Kim continues to work toward her degree, she finds meaning in the small and simple things that happen in and out of the classroom on a daily basis. She says these little things are what solidify her path towards becoming a teacher.

“Whenever I motivate a quiet or shy student to share an idea, get a student to become excited over new knowledge, offer and provide support to struggling students, have a heart-to-heart conversation with a student who made a poor choice, or even when a student waves a hand at me with a big smile on their face, I feel I am doing something meaningful. It warms my heart to witness a student’s growth.”

Kim also shares that she is a first-generation immigrant from South Korea—the only person in her lengthy family tree to immigrate to another country—and and a faithful journal keeper. She is aware that her perspective is unique, but that each of her cohort member’s is too.

“That is what makes it inspiring. We all have different opinions, ideas, challenges, and experiences. And they open our eyes, give us revealing and revelatory insights, and allow us to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation.”

More Student Stories →