From student to educator, Director Amy Ko talks teacher appreciation

During National Teacher Appreciation Week, JEI Learning Center wants to show appreciation for the hardworking educators who have dedicated themselves to our Self-Learning Method and unstoppable students. Today, we put the spotlight on a special member of our community.

Director Amy Ko of the JEI Learning Center of Merrick, New York was once herself a student of the JEI Self-Learning Method from second grade up to freshman year of high school, the final grade for which we offer programs. However, that was not to be the end of her involvement in the JEI community.  

Under the guidance of Hane, her Instructor who became the Bayside Director, Amy flourished under the Self-Learning Method and she became so appreciative of the Instructors before her that she took the mantle herself, joining them in their ranks at age 20. As an Instructor, she assisted children like herself to realize their full potential under the leadership of Directors Hane at Bayside and Joy at Great Neck, two JEI educators who continued to be positive influences long after she was a student.

“Those two Directors have been a great impact on my life,” Amy told JEI Learning Center after we reached out to her for National Teacher Appreciation Week. “After being an Instructor for 8 years, Joy gave me insight about the Center in Merrick and has helped me become a Director.” ​

Her unique experience transitioning from a student to Instructor to Director is why JEI wanted to put the spotlight on Amy this week. As an educator, she excitedly spoke about her most rewarding experience:

My most rewarding experience as a JEI Instructor [is] having students come in and say I helped them ace their tests. Also, they [are] so much happier due to their grades improving and their school teachers praising them.

JEI’s mission is to help children realize their infinite potential. This is a shared passion of Amy, which is why she has spent so many years dedicating herself to the supplemental education of JEI:

It brings me joy to help them bring their inner potential to the surface. To be able to help the future generation and bring a smile to both [the students’ and parents’] faces helped me realize I wanted to continue in this [industry].

As rewarding as the experience is, being an educator also has its challenges that put her to the test. After all, self-learning in essential to every aspect of life. Amy practiced self-learning herself throughout her entire undergraduate career and reinforced that knowledge during her career as an Instructor:

Everyone learns and comprehends material differently. So, I’ve learned to be more patient and understanding and less strict. I want to be there for the students and have them enjoy their time of learning instead of pushing and stressing them out. As a teacher, I need to make sure my students are understanding the material and going about it at their pace.

When asked for tips and words of wisdom to pass onto students, parents, and educators alike, Amy revealed her secrets to success:

I think the most common tip I try to give my students is to take their time reading and understanding the material. Also, to stop feeling rushed while they are completing their work or test. For problem-solving questions, I teach them to take each sentence apart as they go, and if they need to sketch a picture, they should. In addition to this, always ask questions because a question can never be wrong. Answers just differentiate from the way it is asked. Knowledge empowers you is what I would like to pass onto my students.

She also recalled the quote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” from educator Thomas H. Palmer’s ‘Teacher Manual,’ noting grit as an important trait to teach children: “I think a person who tries their hardest to reach their highest potential is more admirable than someone who doesn’t try at all.” Amy says that giving up and quitting should not be the first response anyone, especially a student, should think of, which is why Instructors play an important role: they encourage students to feel more confident and always keep trying.

JEI Learning Center wants to thank Amy for always doing just that and for being an important member of our community. We look forward to working with her for many more years to come and witnessing the great wisdom she relays to her pupils, present and future. Her passion and dedication to students prove that National Teacher Appreciation Week should be celebrated year-round.