Kim, an elementary education alumna, was recognized as a top 10 finalist for the 2021-22 North Carolina Student Teacher of the Year at the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Fall Forum.
Erika Kim ‘22, an elementary education alumna, was recognized as a top 10 finalist for the North Carolina Student Teacher of the Year at the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Fall Forum.
Nominated by Erin Hone, senior lecturer in education, Kim was recognized for her student-centered teaching and focus on relationships. She is currently teaching first grade at Durham Academy in Durham, North Carolina.
Hone wrote in her nomination letter, “Erika centers her students in all instructional decisions she makes, constantly positioning best practices with strategies that would support her unique learners. She is nurturing and utilizes the assets her students bring into the classroom to make the content relevant to them. It is evident that she ‘sees’ her students for who they are and what they will be.”
Kim’s clinical teacher, Hannah Morris, a second-grade teacher at Eastlawn Elementary School, commended Kim’s professionalism and willingness to collaborate. Kim attended the grade level Professional Learning Community, where she contributed as if she were a veteran teacher and shared expertise from her undergraduate research in selecting culturally responsive picture books for the classes.
“Ms. Kim was a model student teacher, and she will be highly successful in her own classroom and as a co-teacher,” Morris said.
Erika said she believes teaching is a career firmly rooted in relationship building, which is the foundation for learning and growing in a classroom.
“My interpersonal skills and those of my students are practiced all over the school: on the carpet of the classroom, at my small group table, during lunch at the picnic tables and on the swings at the playground,” Kim said. “I encourage my students to talk to me about whatever comes to mind. Building relationships with my students looks like a grown-up and a second grader sitting at lunch, eating apples and talking about life together. It is organic and absolutely one of the best parts of teaching.”
Finalists for the North Carolina Student Teacher of the Year Award were acknowledged for their accomplishments during the 2021-22 academic year. Candidates must be nominated from their institution for excellence during their student teaching semester.