Faculty Friday: Helen Yoon

Helen grew up internationally, attending preschool in Japan, elementary school in Seoul, middle school in Toronto, finishing high school, and university in Texas. She grew up experiencing different styles of education which in turn has influenced her philosophy on education: There are excellent teachers and students all over the world no matter where it is in the world. Helen loves to teach and help children explore the joy of learning. She is passionate about discovering the hidden talents and interests of her young students as they engage in independent and group-based activities. Helen always feels honored to be part of her ‘little friends’ journey of learning.

What is your role at Dwight School Seoul? 
I am currently working as a homeroom teacher in Preschool B. I love to see my little friends growing up daily physically and mentally with me.

What made you decide to work in an education setting? And what is your philosophy?
I love children so I wanted to do something with children so it was very easy for me to decide to become a teacher. “The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.” is my favorite quote. I truly believe in this quote because our future is in the hands of our children.

What do you like the most about working at DSS?
I love Dwight’s international environment. We have students and faculty who represent over 40 countries.

What are your interests and or hobbies?
I love spending time with my little friends, stand-up comedies, sewing and making my own outfits, playing a few different instruments, listening to any type of music, yoga, taking care of plants, and learning about whatever it is I am interested in at the time. I am currently interested in furthering my knowledge in yoga.

Who inspires you and how?
My inspiration comes from Zoltan Kodály, a Hungarian composer. He developed the Kodály Method which is a music educational tool that is very widely used in the world. It is often used with younger students who are just beginning to learn music. It covers numerous aspects of music such as rhythm, solfege, and melody through the establishment of specific syllables, hand signs, and notational practices. Music education would not survive without Zoltan Kodaly. He has helped many young music students.

I am also inspired by Maria Montessori. She was an Italian physician, educator, and innovator. She built an educational method that builds on the way children learn naturally. Montessori education is known for the early learning experience and the focus on hands-on learning. The method focuses on concrete, rather than abstract learning. Students work on activities in five areas, language, math, sensorial, culture, and practical life. Maria Montessori has helped a countless number of young learners in the world.

What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
I am currently reading a book, “The Story of a Smiling Peanut “ which is about how NCSoft company built this beautiful in-house preschool for their own employees. It is interesting to read about success stories especially if it involves children.

What global challenge would you like to see tackled and how do you see yourself contributing to the positive change that you desire? 
Climate change and recycling. They both go together. I would like to do more to reduce, reuse and recycle so I know that I have taken a baby step towards sharing the planet for the future.

What is one interesting fact about you that others may not know or may surprise them?
I lived in several different countries in my life: Korea, Japan, Canada, America, and Germany. Therefore I speak just enough of each language to say, “I don’t speak this language.” However,  I feel fortunate enough to say that I can speak English and Korean well enough to have been a simultaneous court interpreter and have worked for Samsung and Texas Instrument in the past.

Why would you tell a prospective family to choose DSS?
First international school to be fully IB certified in Korea. The size of the school is perfect. We are not too big and not too small in size so we can be  like a family at Dwight. We truly are international in terms of the make-up of the school among faculty as well as among students.

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