Newly hired chemistry teacher Helen Chung. (Photo courtesy JerEcho)

Passion For Chemistry And Teaching

By Sunny Kamadjed of JerEcho

Newly hired chemistry teacher Helen Chung wants to give back to her students what she learned from her teachers. As a child, Chung spent lots of time with her teachers and discovered her passion for education.

When Chung moved to Long Island at the end of her freshman year of high school, she found herself in an environment that motivated her to be a better student and to value her teachers even more, specifically her chemistry teacher. “I knew that when I met my chemistry teacher, this was something that I wanted to do. She’s the one that instilled that career in me, I guess, that dream of becoming a high school teacher,” she said.

Initially, Chung attended SUNY Buffalo to study pharmacy, but soon realized pharmacy was not the best way to channel her love of chemistry. She said, “As I was studying, I realized that it’s not just about chemistry; it’s a lot of biology, and biology was not my strong point.”

Chung knew teaching was her true passion since teaching at Kumon during high school. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she taught at the CCB School of New York and the JEI Learning Center. However, she had to attend graduate school to teach high school students. Fortunately, Queens College’s curriculum enables graduate students to teach with a license halfway through the program.

She then began teaching at Great Neck North High School. Teaching high school students enriched her experience as a teacher. “I preferred teaching high school students. I feel like the conversations that I can have with them are different, and as they’re trying to grow up and become young adults and more responsible, I definitely feel like I want to work more with students that are older,” Chung said.

When she heard about an open chemistry position at Jericho, Chung applied for the job and was hired. She is eager to work with the school’s motivated and hardworking students. “I know it may sound a little selfish, but I do want to work with students that care,” said Ms. Chung.

Besides teaching chemistry, Chung believes in teaching life lessons. She strives to create a safe space where her students have someone to talk to, and she seeks to build strong bonds with them.

Sophomore Christopher M. appreciates Chung’s approach to teaching. He said, “She knows how to connect with us well, and she makes every lesson pretty lighthearted.”

Curriculum Associate of Science and Technology Kim Libertini recognizes Chung’s care for her students. She said, “Ms. Chung has a lovely presence inside the classroom that exhibits a lot of warmth and nurturing that comes across in the delivery of her lessons.”

—Submitted by JerEcho

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