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May 10, 2021 | Abby Liu
This is a part of a new video interview series so that you can get to know our Middle School faculty. We hope that you enjoy learning more about them!
Abby Liu: Hello I’m Abby Lu, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Mustard Seed School, and I have here with me today Chloe Jang, who is one of our fourth grade teachers. Welcome!
Chloe Jang: Hello!
Abby Liu: Thanks for joining me and giving us the opportunity to get to know you a little bit better! Let’s jump right in. Can you tell us a little bit about what you studied in college?
Chloe Jang: Yeah, so I studied elementary education and English language arts, which means I went into college knowing that I wanted to be a teacher.
Abby Liu: Excellent. So what are you most passionate about when it comes to content?
Chloe Jang: I think it actually changes every year. Last year I was really excited about teaching writing, language arts. But this year–I mean they’re all great– but this year I really feel passionate about teaching math. Because sometimes math can be tricky and kids feel like, oh I’m not good at this. Math is a subject where kids feel, I’m not good at this, I don’t get this, I can’t get the right answer, you know? It’s one of those subjects where they feel more stuck in, and so when I hear kids say, Well, that was fun, like, wow, that was challenging but still fun, it makes me so happy and so I’ve been really enjoying teaching math this year.
Abby Liu: That’s great! You know, one of the things that I often hear from our alums is that there was a point in their career at Mustard Seed School where they, if they were unsure about math or maybe didn’t like math, by the time they leave, they actually like math, which I find really exciting.
Describe a moment when a student was challenged beyond what you expected in class. What did that work look like, and what was exciting about that for you as a teacher?
Chloe Jang: I always tell students, hey, these are some ways you can go above and beyond, if you choose to. Right? So it’s a choice for them. I don’t ask them to do that. Sometimes I do and I feel like there is room for them to do that, but mostly it’s a choice. And when they make that decision for themselves, you know, the work is great because they’re spending their own time outside of school, to work on it because they’re so interested in this topic that they’ve chosen for themselves. Or they asked me, Well, can I write another paragraph? and I’m like, Yeah, of course! and then it looks great, because it was something that they really wanted to write about. And so when I see them go above and beyond, it’s exciting for me to see them doing that because they’re taking ownership of their own learning, and they’re setting goals for themselves really. Right, so it grows awareness and so amazing.
Abby Liu: Yeah, so exciting.
As you know, we’re thinking a lot about diversity, equity, inclusion and Universal Design for Learning (or UDL as we call it at Mustard Seed School). What’s an idea that you’ve tried in your classroom as a result of the work that we’ve been doing in Universal Design for Learning this year?
Chloe Jang: So, this year I’ve been giving students the option to choose. I think choice is really the key word. So I give the students to choose a topic to study, or choose a partner to work with, or to choose to work independently if that tool’s working for them. And the beauty of this is it, again, grows self awareness of what they are able to do or the areas that they can grow in, and increases motivation, because they get to study a choice of topic that they are interested in, not something that a teacher has assigned them to study. So I think it increases motivation, deepens curiosity.
Abby Liu: And gets engagement really high.
So what about diversity, equity, inclusion? What’s an action that you’ve taken in your classroom, to better honor and celebrate the diversity?
Chloe Jang: So actually the beginning of the year I shared right away that I am not a good multitasker. And there are certain things that I do for myself to learn and process information, and I wanted to set that tone with the whole class to share that we are all different, or we’re different types of learners. And it’s okay to do different things. And once I share that I’m not a multitasker, and so I work a certain way so can you, right? You don’t have to do something in a way that your classmate or your friend is doing. And I think that tells them that we’re diverse learners, and we are different, and it’s okay to be different.
I also invite students to share what they believe in, because not everyone believes in the same thing. Not everyone is a person of faith even though we’re a Christian school, and that’s okay, but I think opening that floor up for students to share helps us to understand that what’s really important is that we honor and respect our differences and diversity.
Abby Liu: Excellent, I love that. What motivates and inspires you as a teacher?
Chloe Jang: My kids and my colleagues. Yeah, I work with amazing people, and they really inspire me to be a great and better teacher.
Abby Liu: Yeah I would say that for me too. I am a much better parent, even though I’m not a teacher at the school, but because I’m around all of these incredibly gifted teachers, I’ve actually learned how to be a much better parent, so I feel that as well.
Anything else that you want families to know about you?
Chloe Jang: I’m getting married!
Abby Liu: I didn’t know that! Congratulations!
Chloe Jang: Yeah, I’m getting married in the summer, so I’ll be Mrs very soon!
Abby Liu: Are you gonna change her last name or are you going to still go by Jang?
Chloe Jang: Yes, legally, yes I have to change my name because that’s what my future husband and I decided. That’s what he asked me to do and I will honor that, but I don’t know. I’m Ms. Jang at Mustard Seed School, right? I have to give it a bit more thought.
Abby Liu: That’s very exciting, congratulations! I’m so happy for you. It’s good to have something that we can really celebrate in the middle of this pandemic.
Chloe Jang: I know!
Abby Liu: I’m really happy.
Alright, I’m getting to the eight quick questions. How long have you worked at Mustard Seed School?
Chloe Jang: This is my second year.
Abby Liu: And what’s the last book you read?
Chloe Jang: Okay, this is an intense book. It’s called Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.
Abby Liu: Okay, so do you recommend? Did you like it?
Chloe Jang: So it’s a nonfiction book. I think it was on Oprah’s Book Club list. It’s about an American family that had 10 or so siblings. It’s the story of their family dealing with schizophrenia. Yeah, very deep and intense, and why did I pick it up? It was on Oprah’s book club list, and I was like, why not? And so I learned something new, so it was great.
Abby Liu: What’s show that you’re watching right now or recently enjoyed?
Chloe Jang: Last night I started watching a show called The Love on Netflix. And it’s not because I’m in this lovey dovey, getting married mode, but it was a new show on Netflix, it’s about six different couples, and the first episode is about an 80 year old married couple and their love story. So it’s just sweet, something refreshing, something to lighten up the mood, you know, in the middle of a pandemic. Something hopeful and joyful.
Abby Liu: All right, I’m gonna have to check that out, that sounds really good. What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when the pandemic is over or at least major restrictions are lifted?
Chloe Jang? Travel to Japan. So my kids, my former students, know that I lived in Japan for a year and my plan was to go to Japan last summer, but I couldn’t. And I really hope to go back.
Abby Liu: I hope you made it there, that’s great. Favorite dessert?
Chloe Jang: Ice cream.
Abby Liu: Very good. Name a band or artists that you enjoy listening to.
Chloe Jang: This is hard because there are so many artists and songs that I enjoy! I love Kpop, I love hip hop, I love pop. And so I think it’s more like the music, the songs and the lyrics, rather than like one artist, so too many to choose.
Abby Liu: Too many to name! Okay. And then, finally, what’s one item that will always be in your fridge?
Chloe Jang: Seltzer, my go-to to drink.
Abby Liu: Yeah! All right, I’ll make sure there’s Seltzer at the next staff meeting, once we’re having food at staff meetings again, and we’re not all on Zoom. Someday, we’ll all be together in the same room.
Chloe Jang: Hopefully soon!
Abby Liu: Yeah, I hope so. Well thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such a pleasure to talk to you.
Chloe Jang: Thank you!