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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

English teacher shares California teaching experience

At his Lynwood Elementary School's spelling bee then 7-year old Michael Kim spelled out his word: “bearback.” He listened for the final verdict on his spelling. It turned out he had spelled “bareback” wrong. He felt cheated and frustrated.

“I felt the word was a bit misleading to give to a 7-year-old,” said Kim, who is teaching English this year. “When I got it wrong, I felt that I did not misspell the word, but I spelled the wrong word.”

However, he managed to gain a lesson from his loss, which is to be fair to students as much as possible. Now he says that “it’s just a funny story,” but he still feels he should not have eliminated from the competition.

Later, when Kim was a student, he discovered how much he loved literature and writing.

He first wanted study criminal justice at Sacramento State so he could become an FBI agent.

However, he changed course, acquiring a bachelor’s degree in English and starting his first teaching job at Gardena High School in 2001.

“[Being in the FBI is] the dream of many American boys, action [and] mystery,” he said. “[But] my first criminal justice class wasn’t as interesting as I hoped.”

After teaching at three other high schools, Kim went back to San Rafael High, his alma mater. He taught there from 2011 to 2013.

Kim is substituting for the year for English 9 and 10 teacher Kelly Wissolik, who is out for the year on maternity leave.

On his first day at Saratoga High, Kim said he was nervous, but also optimistic. He found students to be mature and focused and that they showed “eye-opening” dedication to extracurriculars.

Even though he has been teaching here for only a few weeks, Kim has seen an overall positive atmosphere at the school.

“I’ve been at schools where aspects of the faculty, administrator and students are dedicated and passionate about their roles,” Kim said. “But I’ve never taught at a school where all three are so impressive.”

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