Alexandra Kim: Beginning Career at Legacy After Traumatic Event

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Photo by Reese Mallett

Ms. Alexandra Kim teaches English I. Kim spent a year at Legacy as a student teacher, before returning to the campus as a full time teacher this year.

Abigail Morris, News Editor

On Oct. 6, 2021, Alexandra Kim began her first day subbing at Timberview High School by sending a student to the attendance office. 

That same morning, everyone heard gunshots. That same morning, emergency vehicles filled the school parking lot. That same morning, Ms. Kim waited for police to release her class as the Timberview shooting made national news.

“The whole situation was very stressful, but not knowing where that student was nerve-wracking,” Ms. Kim said. “Being 22 at the time [I felt] like I was a child, but I was like ‘I’m the adult.’ I couldn’t process it.”

When she returned home that day, Ms. Kim considered leaving the teaching profession. Deciding to give it one last shot, she subbed for a chemistry class at Legacy. The students that came in were faces she recognized from her student teaching year at Legacy the year before. 

“[The students] walked in and I cried during my lunch break because I was like ‘These are the people. This is why I teach.’ If it wasn’t for that relationship that I had built up with [these students] and that support

Outside of Ms. Kim’s classroom at Timberview High School, police and SWAT teams surround the school after a student opened fire inside the school on Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo by Courtesy Photo)

from [them],” Kim said. “Just as much as teachers support you, [students] support us even if you don’t know.”

This year, Ms. Kim teaches Advanced English 1. She aims to achieve a 100% passing rate on the STAAR test, but her main goal is to support her students. 

“Genuinely it is just to make all of my students feel like they’re supported and that they have someone on their side,” Ms. Kim said. “That they feel challenged when they come into my class, but they feel like that challenge has benefitted them by the time that they leave my class.”

Ms. Kim spent her senior year at Lake Ridge High School before attending Texas Christian University. There, she majored in Secondary Education with Language and Literacy. Kim achieved her master’s degree in curriculum instruction last year and describes her teaching style as weird. 

“A lot of people see me teach and I bounce around like a little child, almost how you would see an elementary school teacher. But the way that I talk and the things that we go over are a lot more advanced than you would ever expect,” Ms. Kim said. “I am a facilitator in our classroom. I will teach you things when I have to teach you things but ultimately, my students are the ones that teach me things.”

Ms. Kim also learns from other teachers she’s worked with in previous years. She admires the relationships English teachers Ms. Renee Tillery and Ms. Danielle Panzarella build with their students, but also Ms. Melissa McGarr, who she student taught with two years ago.

“When she taught in my class, I remember how she did a great job at getting to know and connecting with the students,” Mrs. McGarr said. “She is genuinely interested in them and wants them to succeed.”

Ms. Kim gives Ms. McGarr the majority of the credit for everything she learned while student teaching. However, McGarr also appreciates the way Ms. Kim teaches her class. 

“I admire her strong work ethic and how she actively thinks about adding creativity to lessons in order to increase student engagement,” Ms. McGarr said. “Her greatest strength in the classroom is letting the students know her expectations because she wants them to be successful and take an active part in their education.”

Ms. Kim initially wanted to teach because of her love for English, but she then discovered her love for working with people. Working with different students everyday added to her passion for the profession. 

“I have a lot of love for written word. I think it’s super powerful, and I think the art of understanding any type of written word is important in understanding how your mind can explain things to yourself,” Ms. Kim said. “But I also loved how much people contributed to my growth as a human. Getting to work with kids on a regular basis and them being able to share their thoughts and opinions about things is something that I really value, and I didn’t think I would previously.”