The Educator Spotlight recognizes those who contribute to the education of local students. Educators were chosen by consulting with site PTA, student government organizations and staff. Educators were chosen for their reputations with students, staff, parents and the community.
Sandra Kim, McKinley Elementary School
Sandra Kim has been teaching for 10 years, and has been in SMMUSD for 3. In those 3 years, she has held various elementary school positions including 3rd grade teacher, math coach, and professional development leader. She currently teaches 4th grade.
Kim is a team player who feels that with a shared vision, all students will succeed. She enjoys being innovative, creative and using blended learning. One of her goals is “for every kid to enjoy, really enjoy, the process of learning.” You can see this in her hands-on class projects. Last year her class used engineering and math skills in Caine’s Arcade project, where they created arcades out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. When the class was finished they invited every class at McKinley. “Kids were able to enjoy their games, or troubleshoot if something wasn’t working properly.” Recently she had iPads donated to her classroom through Donor’s Choose and she has seen her students grow in their creativity and collaboration skills using them.
Kim is passionate about her own professional development. Being a model of growth mindset for her students, she wants to continue to learn and grow as an educator. In particular, she wants to learn more methods to help students at every ability level
I became a teacher because I don’t want any kids to slip through the cracks like I did. I learned the hard way to understand why education and being responsible was important. With that I want every child to have an opportunity to learn and to build good characteristics. I want every child to know that mistakes are okay and all questions are important. I want students to see themselves as learners and believe in their potential. My goals for my kids are for them to have growth mindsets versus fixed mindsets.
Like many educators, I love seeing the students grow, becoming independent thinkers, and learn to collaborate with one another. It is really beautiful to see and be part of it.
I want [the students] to become global citizens and understand that success is not just about test scores. It is about having self-awareness, having good characteristics, and being empathetic.
One of the quotes I love is, “If you are lost, you might need to swim against the tide.” I love this quote because it shows us that when we are out of our comfort zone or the moment we are faced with struggle that is a moment we learn the most about ourselves. Through struggle, we find our way.