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Building Community in the Eighth Grade

September 30, 2020 | Sam Choi

Building community.

This phrase or some variation of it, has been part of your child’s Mustard Seed experience from the very beginning.  At the preschool level, they learned to look beyond themselves and became part of a larger group.  They were taught life skills such as making friends, communicating, apologizing, forgiving and working with others.  As they progressed through the rest of school, they continued to plan and work with others even as their idea of community expanded through service.  By the time they reach eighth grade, the students are no longer expected to be just members of a community but rather its leaders.

This year because of its unique circumstances, the eighth graders have not been given the opportunity to lead in the middle school in the usual ways.  In previous years, they would have been placed in teams and given responsibilities as well as roles that would help them develop leadership skills.  At park, as the oldest students, they would have helped organize and lead games.  So how do we help the eighth graders grow as leaders?

I am hoping that we will be doing more whole school service projects where the eighth graders can take the lead.  Also, I am hoping we can look outside of the school and help the eighth graders engage civically and feel more part of the local, national and global community.

Sam Choi

Teacher, Grade 8; Science, History, and Ethics, Sixth to Eighth Grades

Mr. Choi has been teaching for over twenty years. Prior to Mustard Seed, Mr. Choi taught at a high school and a middle school for students with language based learning differences. He has also taught at an after school tutoring center and a standardized test prep center.

Over his career, Mr. Choi has taught high school Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Computer Programming, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and US and European History. He has also taught middle school PE, Health, Earth Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, World History and Language Arts, as well as Ethics, Civics, Economics, Christian Studies and Geography.

Mr. Choi enjoys running, watching movies, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs; he has been an avid fan of these teams since 1980.
He is married to Abby Hall Choi and is the father of Noah (MSS Class of 2027) and Jacob (MSS class of 2030).

Mr. Choi was born in Pusan, South Korea, and emigrated to the United States in 1980 with his parents and older brother and sister. He first lived in Kansas City, Kansas and then moved to San Diego, California in 1986. In 2007, Mr. Choi moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. He quickly discovered that living in Southern California does not equip one to survive anywhere outside of Southern California.

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