Substitute teacher leaves positive impression on students


Due to the absence of Kallina Chin, choir director, Samantha Joo taught in her place for the first five weeks of school. Having worked as a substitute teacher at SIS before, Ms. Joo was able to adjust quickly to the school community. In the end, Ms. Joo says that her longer stay allowed her to connect with the students through singing as well as reencounter her passion for music.

“I was afraid to come back to school, because I had taken a break from teaching for two years and did not know what to expect,” Ms. Joo said. “Also, I was not very confident about taking over such big tasks. However, thanks to the warm and welcoming faculty and students, I was able to adjust very quickly without any problems.”

Although she first played the piano as a five-year-old, Ms. Joo became interested in music as a student at Cheltenham Girls High School in Australia. She was fascinated by the large size of both the orchestra and the band at her school. After graduating, she furthered her education in music by attending Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she majored in Music Education and minored in Piano.

“I was a very shy girl growing up,” Ms. Joo said. “Through music, I was able to overcome my shyness and truly express myself. I always liked being with kids and even though I wasn’t a best performer, I wanted to major in something that allows me to continue my music career.”

After receiving her university degree, Ms. Joo returned to Korea and began her educational music career at Korea International School, where she taught music to students from elementary through high school. During her time at SIS, Ms. Joo appears to have left a positive impression on her students, such as Debora Kim (11), who says the substitute teacher genuinely cared for her students. According to Debora, Ms. Joo would give her in-depth feedback about her singing videos on Youtube, and wish for good results in her music auditions as well.

“One time, when I left my pencil case in the choir room, she called me to come and get it over the phone, which is uncommon between a student and a teacher,” Debora said. “Not only that, she always had so much energy even though Ambassadors Choir is the first class of the day. So many of us [choir students] called and will remember her as a human emoticon, because of the various faces she made during class.”

According to Ms. Joo, she was very impressed with the students’ talents and had fun singing with them. Proud of her achievements here, Ms. Joo learned that students are able to do well, even when receiving small help from teachers. After leaving SIS, Ms. Joo hopes to go back to school to earn her masters degree on Child Psychology which will help her gain an idea on how to educate students more productively.

Photo by David Choe (10)