Shuk-Kuen Chiu: Never stop learning and growing with your students
Updated: Apr 14
Shuk-Kuen Chiu of Columbia Heights Education Campus is an educator who is constantly evolving and growing alongside her students.
Shuk-Kuen Chiu is in her 14th year as an educator and said teaching is her calling. "I always wanted to work with kids," she said. Having graduated from Columbia Heights Education Campus in 2003, she went on to study education at the University of Maryland and then returned to the school where she herself grew up to give back.
Despite being a teacher for well over a decade, Shuk-Kuen says that she's never stopped learning. "To be an effective teacher in this day and age, you always have to keep learning. Education changes every year," said Shuk-Kuen. She praised her school for providing such consistent and innovative professional development opportunities and discussed the benefits of one recent course, 'Illustrative mathematics,' that focused on conceptual understanding in math. She said this course, and others like it, have helped her stay ahead of the curve as an educator.
Fluency practice is something Shuk-Kuen weaves into her classroom each day. She said because some of her students work at lower levels, practicing fluency and utilizing both spiraling and scaffolding are integral to building their confidence with class material. "I make sure that the tasks they work on are related to their prior understanding, so they access that knowledge and apply it to ‘new math,’" she said.
Shuk-Kuen said that first and foremost, teachers must prioritize their relationships with their students. "Some of the children I teach don't have home support, and if you don't provide them with social and emotional support in class, they won't listen to you." Shuk-Kuen builds connections with her students through centering transparency and accountability in everything she does. "If I expect one thing from them, I'll live up to it on my end, too," she explained. "Following through is important, as is making sure my students realize everything I do comes from a place of love."
Seeing her students grow from sixth grade to graduation is, she said, the most rewarding part of her job, "It's all about building positive relationships with your students.” Speaking to Shuk-Kuen, one can see just how important her students are to her and what an incredibly passionate, patient teacher she is.
Photos courtesy of Shuk-Kuen Chiu