The following Korean-language essay was written by Ms. Jungjin Lee, the Korean Department Chair and the founding Korean-language teacher at Democracy Prep Charter School in New York City. Democracy Prep, established in Harlem in upper Manhattan in 2006, has one of the largest Korean-language and culture programs in the New York-New Jersey area. Former Superintendant Seth Andrew created Korean-language courses in 2009 because of his positive experiences with the Korean educational system and Korean culture during his nine-month stint in Korea as an English-language instructor.
Ms. Jungjin Lee was the first Korean-language teacher at Democracy Prep Charter School. During her first year as a Korean-language teacher at Democracy Prep, Ms. Jungjin Lee experienced experienced some growing pains. Nevertheless, she persevered, and her efforts and enthusiasm never waned, even in the face of adversity. She ultimately succeeded in getting through to her students, and is now the Chair of the successful Korean Department, which also includes courses in taekwondo, bongsan talchum (a traditional Korean mask dance), and Korean music/drumming, at Democracy Prep.
Ms. Lee's essay will be included in a forthcoming Korean-language book, Stories of Koreans Who Have Promoted the Korean Language in New York, that will be co-edited by Pyong Gap Min, the director of our Center, and Se Jung Yim, a research associate at our Center.