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Hacienda Heights

Thank you to our Foreign Language department!

By Carol Li
PC_ Betty (Chang)

Mr. Chang

How did you find your passion for teaching your language?

“[Many] of my relatives are teachers. My grandma was an elementary school teacher, and my mom attended a professional teaching school in Taiwan. My mom wanted me to [work] in the educational field, so I was inspired to become a teacher.  Teaching was something I wanted to do as a career, too, so I [chose] my first job as [a teacher]. I want students to [adapt] my study style. [I want students to] learn from me, [so I] can hopefully help them with their future and academic career.”

PC_ Betty (Hinojosa)

Mr. Hinojosa

What aspects of your career do you enjoy most?

“I like interacting with the youth and making an impact on their lives. I can see myself more of a mentor to the students than being a teacher. I really like to motivate kids to try their best and acquire [another] language, because I think learning a second language is important. For students going into [the workforce], it is useful for them to know different languages and help the people they service. Whether they are doctors, lawyers or any [other professions], it is always nice to speak an [additional] language.”  

PC_ Chris (Ortega)


Ms. Ortega

What aspects of your career do you enjoy most?

“The best part [of my career] is the students. [I enjoy] their enthusiasm when they get an ‘Aha!’ moment with the language, culture or any topic in my class. I love when students enjoy [my class] and use [Spanish] comfortably without being forced. On the other hand, the students keep me young. I get to learn more and [be updated] about what is going on [around us]. It is fun to have that perspective from them.”

PC_ Chris (Orth)

Ms. Orth

What are some memorable high school moments?

“I graduated from Wilson, and this year will be my thirtieth class reunion. I definitely would say [being in band] in 1986 was the most memorable high school experience. At that time, [our] band and color guard were [large in number]. We [were] honored to play for President Reagan’s second inauguration and to represent California as well. From there, we had an opportunity a year later to march in the Rose Parade. We practiced our endurance [by marching] around the school’s parking lot. At the time, we were the only band who could play and perform the whole parade route.”

PC_ Peter (Shin)

Ms. Shin

What impacted you the most to decide to become a teacher for foreign language?

“I came to the United States when I was fifteen years old. [At that time], I did not speak English at all, but I was placed in a Spanish class. My Spanish teacher for a week was a Korean American who was fluent in all three languages: English, Spanish and Korean. My Japanese teacher in high school was Caucasian. I thought,‘If they can do it [then]  I can do it [too], since I was born and raised in Korea.’ That was when I decided to teach Korean at a high school.”

PC_ Peter (Wann)

Ms. Wann

What impacted you the most to decide to become a teacher for foreign language?

“I enjoy [being a teacher], because I like hearing feedback from students and parents more than anything else. At first, I taught science, but I eventually switched to teaching Chinese, because I think Chinese is important for students. I want to help guide students who are interested in the Chinese language. I also want to teach students to be self-motivated and pursue their careers without parents or teachers pushing them.”

PC_ Betty (Johnson)

Ms. Johnson

What was the most memorable encounter with students you had in your teaching career?

“I had a student who was a gangster. He became a gangster because he came from an extremely dysfunctional family. His dad wished he was dead and put a gun on his head.  However, I was able to work with him and change his mind that it was important to graduate and get a diploma. I met him in his sophomore year when he was in my class. He was very quiet, and I knew something was going on. [Later in the year], I earned his trust and finally sat down and talked to him. I knew he was not doing well in school, and people had given up on him because of his behavior and actions. We had a long conversation, and I told him that I would help him, only if he allowed me to. I made sure he was in my study hall, so I could see if he did his work and helped [raise] his grades. It was very emotional for him when he graduated with his cap and gown.”   

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