Her experiences as a missionary kid in Japan, paired with her current classes in Taylor’s top-rated Education program, are preparing sophomore Angela Loh for her own classroom.
Tutoring in High School Sparked Interest in Education
As a high school student, Loh tutored two elementary students and also spent the summers as a camp counselor for children from kindergarten to 8th grade. She treasured her time developing long-lasting relationships with these kids as she watched them grow up, and still visits them to this day when she takes trips back home to Japan.
At camp her junior year, Loh realized she could be “the foundation of knowledge for kids” and decided she wanted to be a teacher. She is currently earning a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education, with the dream of being a teacher in a 3rd or 4th grade classroom.
The Journey from Japan to Indiana
Loh attended an international school in Japan that followed an American curriculum. However, growing up in Japan’s education system, Loh recalls the cultural differences that influenced her education.
Growing up, Loh remembers her own teachers as reserved and difficult to connect with compared to her experience at Taylor where she views her professors as mentors. While both schools challenge students academically, Loh appreciates the relational aspect Taylor fosters as something that sets our university apart.
Her desire to teach is shaped by her past and present teachers. Her Bible teacher from international school was the first she remembers to “still be human” with his classes. Through his example, Loh saw that teachers can form deep, caring mentorships with their students.
Since coming to Taylor, Loh admires her Child Psychology professor, Dr. Laura Edwards, who she said teaches in an “inspirational way.” Her influences from both international school and Taylor have demonstrated to her that a classroom has the potential to mean more to students than just the grades they receive.
Learning to Become a Teacher
Loh first heard of Taylor University when she was in 1st grade. Her camp counselor, a Taylor graduate, was a 1st grade teacher who raved about her college experience.
Several years later, when Loh was in high school, a Taylor Education professor, Dr. Cindy Tyner, visited her international school to speak about what it means to be a teacher. Dr. Tyner’s visit caught Loh’s attention, and after dedicating her college decision to prayer, she knew Taylor was where God wanted her to be.
When asked what she enjoys about Taylor’s Education program, Loh responded, “Being able to learn with passionate people.” She did not just attribute this quality to her classmates, but to her professors as well. As her second year at Taylor comes to a close, she reflects on gratitude for the relationships she has been able to grow within the major.
Loh also mentioned how much she appreciates the Education department’s intentionality in providing real-life experiences for its students. Starting first semester, students are placed in classrooms at local elementary schools. Since her time at Taylor, Loh has been placed in two different 1st grade classrooms, as well as a Special Education classroom where she worked with 1st through 5th graders.
Her field placements helped open her eyes to diversity, even within Indiana.
“I could be the only one who fosters love and care for these kids who might come from a home where it is not the norm,” Loh said.
Loh was particularly inspired by her experience abroad in the Philippines, working with 3rd and 4th graders alongside some of her Education peers and professors. Although many of the kids owned very little, she was constantly encouraged by their passion for learning and eagerness to be taught. The kids reminded her of what a child-like faith looks like.
With several classroom experiences already under her belt, she looks forward to her junior practicum, student-teaching her senior year, and other international opportunities.
To Future Career Teachers
“The phrase I tell myself all the time is ‘to be taught and to teach,’” Loh says. “We are able to give to our future students what we were taught. Taylor does a great job of not only teaching the basics but also integrating life values so we can integrate them in our future classrooms. It’s more than just the basics of how to teach.”
Taylor’s desire for Education students is for them to graduate as competent, caring, and reflective teachers who are excited about their calling and prepared for world service. The Education department works towards this goal by cultivating an engaging in-class environment and multiple real-life experiences for students so they can confidently walk into their own classrooms after graduation.