Substitute teacher shares global experience


Returning to her home country to teach at her first international school, Mina Kwon joined the faculty as a substitute teacher for Sara Brodhead, science teacher. Ms. Kwon has been working with Raymond Marangelo, chemistry teacher, to make her transition into AP Environmental Science smoother. Although Ms. Kwon is new to both the school and the subject, she feels familiar working with SIS students due to her similar academic background and diverse cultural experiences as a teenager.

Ms. Kwon’s experience with international schools began in Hong Kong International School, where she attended as an elementary student. Because of her parents’ occupation as teachers, she moved to the U.S. to attend Fay Middle School and Saint Marks. After graduation, she attended University of Wisconsin Madison to attain her bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

“In general, I chose my major in science, because it was fun to learn. Since when I was a student, I appreciated the investigative nature of science as well as the experimental aspect of it.”

For her first experience in teaching, she decided to teach secondary school students. Although there were some diversity issues in her previous school, she thought that it was a very valuable experience as the teachers were very supportive and the students also very helpful.

“The previous school I taught at, was a 95% white school environment,” Ms. Kwon said. “The students seemed like they were in a cave with no access to cultural diversity. But because a lot of them were from traditional families, no one really felt the need to address this.”

Through her experiences in diverse cultures, Ms. Kwon has developed a skill in accepting various cultural perspectives and has come to value the concept of “globalization”, one of the reasons the letter “G” of the TIGER values appealed to her.

She believes that is important to everyone, and that SIS is an institution that provides a great opportunity to develop these important skills in society. She claims that for the world to achieve peace and for a country to become a good democracy accepting of unique aspects of world cultures and beliefs is necessary so that everyone becomes knowledgeable in a wide range of global culture.

“SIS provides students with a great education which ably fosters a student’s abilities to acculturate,” Ms. Kwon said. “I’ve had some previous SIS students in the high school and universities I attended, and most were very welcoming. I think this stems from the ‘TIGERS’ value that is reinforced in this school, especially the ‘G,’ becoming a global citizen.”

With this in mind, one of the main goals Ms. Kwon aspires to achieve at SIS is to teach the students the value of cultural diversity, and the need to be accepting. She says that she has come to the right place to do this, and hopes that every student can learn to adapt to different surroundings while she is here.