College of Education - Alumni Spotlight: Meet Hien Dang, Make the Grade: Amazing Teacher03/09/2020
Meet Hien Dang, Make the Grade: Amazing Teacher
Published in the Akron Beacon Journal on March 9, 2020.
Photo by: Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal
Name: Hien Dang
School: Jennings CLC
High School Alma Mater: Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
College: The University of Akron
I come from a family of 12 children. There are eight girls and four boys. My family and I came to the United States in 1975 and we resided in Akron. I have been married to Tuan Le for the past 15 years.
What subject(s) do you teach (grade level)?
I teach language arts to Grade 6 EL (English learner) students
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing my students make progress every day.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Most of my students come with language barriers that make it harder for them to achieve. It is a big challenge to teach them the content while they are also learning the English language.
Is teaching kids the same today as when you first started?
Kids will always be kids. I believe the teacher has an important role to motivate, encourage and help their students to see the value of education. The teacher has to be firm, caring and set high expectations for them to achieve. The most important thing is to build strong relationships that consist of mutual respect.
Your students would be surprised to know...
I was a former EL student just like them and had similar struggles going through school.
What is your hidden talent?
I am good at sewing and cooking.
If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing?
I think I would pursue medicine and become a pediatrician. My undergraduate degree was in biology. My dad always encouraged me to go into the field of medicine. But a couple of my sisters were in education and they encouraged me to go into this field because they saw the teaching potential in me. I am glad I took their advice and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children I serve each day.
After a long day of work, what is the best way to relax?
The best way to relax for me is play a couple games of pickleball at the gym with friends or family.
District explains nomination:
Setting high standards, helping students achieve personifies Hien Dang, who serves as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. As an immigrant to the United States herself, Ms. Dang understands the students’ need for security, dependability and safety. Her goal is to provide a foundation for the student’s assimilation into American culture with a goal of self-sufficiency, academic success and options for their future. Her ability to understand that cultural difference around gender and religion impact students’ behavior in their new environment.