Elementary Education alumna Jasmine Wong was named The News-Gazette's Teacher of the Week. Jasmine is a third-grade gifted-classroom teacher at Champaign's Booker T. Washington Elementary.
"When I was a kid, I taught my stuffed animals and I made my brother and anyone else who came to my house for a play date be my students," she says. "It was kind of weird. I'm actually from Chicago; I came to Champaign to go to college [at Illinois] for four years and I stayed after college. I started my first job in here in this exact room and I've been teaching in this room for four years."
Q & A with Jasmine and The News-Gazette
Q. Something I like about teaching at Booker T. Washington is...
A. the STEM aspect — the fact that we're a STEM school and encourage all different genders and all different people to go into STEM fields, because that's really important.
Q. I incorporate teaching kindess by...
A. trying to put it into the curricula. We don't have a lot of time in our school-packed schedules, so you have to be very particular, very creative in the way you put it in. You can also put it in science. So we talk about how scientists don't often work by themselves in laboratories, so if you want to be a scientist, you have to learn how to connect with the people you're working with. We talked about what it looks like to have teams and what it looks like to be kind to someone when they don't agree. We talk a lot about not agreeing because in the real world, we don't agree on a lot of things. It's OK to disagree, but how do we disagree in a way that's not harmful.
Q. Outside of teaching, my greatest passion is...
A. traveling. Over the breaks, I've been to Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, and I also went to Canada. So I've been trying to go to different places to see the world. I feel like every new experience has brought me something new, whether it's me trying new foods or going to new cultures, and I think that has shaped my mindset.
Read more of Jasmine's interview here.