Kathleen Wong, 4th Grade Humanities

kywong1@seattleschools.org

I’ve been a part of the immersion program since it began and each year has been better than the last.  The first year was full of Kindergarteners who walked around dazed in a retrofitted high school because their teachers spoke an incomprehensible language to them for half the day!  Now I see and hear those same students babbling in Japanese and Spanish, segueing between their English and the immersion language effortlessly.  Sometimes, those same students would affect not to understand that language in strategic moments.  But, that is another story.

Teaching is my second career; I had worked in corporate America (IBM) as well as social and human services.  When I saw my son walk into Kindergarten not knowing how to read and socially dependant, and walking out reading and socially independent, I knew my next move was to become a teacher.  I want to create the same magic. 

Before McDonald, I spent most of 2010 substituting, mostly in Kindergarten, at John Stanford International School.  As a result, I became familiar with the practical process of an immersion program from a teacher's perspective K-5th grade.  I am bilingual in Cantonese Chinese and English so I bring yet another cultural perspective to McDonald.  I also taught two years in Seattle and Shoreline K-8 grades.  I enjoyed curriculum development so whenever possible, I would guest teach units I wrote, including ones in environmental science and Chinese Brush painting.  I hope to bring all these experiences to bear in the creation of another immersion program at McDonald.

As a parent who shepherded a child through grade school (he is now in high school and sometimes volunteers at McDonald), it is incredibly enlightening to be on the other side of the fence.  I am now understanding the morass of educational lingo that confused me before.  I make it a mission to make sure I translate the “what’s” and the “why's” for my parents.  This has also been one of the most supportive parent communities I know.  It makes my job easier and enables me to take the kids farther. 

I have to admit I missed those halcyon grade school days with my son before I became “Mother Wong”, whose main job is to chauffeur him around town.  Fortunately, I get my fix at McDonald where I have a room of kids to love, the kids are excited to be in school, and happy to spend the day with Ms.  Kathleen.


Kathleen Wong, Humanities
McDonald International School

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