Meet Young Shim, the Paraprofessional of the Year at Richmond Hill Primary School.
First, please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I have been a paraprofessional at Richmond Hill Primary School for three years. This was my first job in the U.S.A. since I had moved from South Korea. I have a wonderful husband, Dr. Shim, Changsub, who is currently a professor at King College in Tennessee. Along with him, I have a bundle of three amazing children: Jae Shim who is a freshman at UGA; Esther Shim who is a senior at Richmond Hill High School; and Samuel Shim who is a fifth-grader at Carver Elementary.
How did you become a parapro?
After I became a Christian, I began working with the Sunday School children (twenty years). As I taught the Sunday School classes at church and raised my own children, a passion developed inside of me to help other children, especially those with special needs. Because I completed all my educational courses from K-Graduate School in my home country, my English was not good enough for me to become a teacher, therefore, I chose to become a paraprofessional instead.
How do you define a parapro, i.e., what does a parapro do? And what makes a good parapro?
I define a paraprofessional as someone who assists the teacher’s and the student’s needs. I believe a good paraprofessional is an assistant who does what he or she has to do but even goes so far as to do what he or she is asked to do, without breaching the teacher’s authority.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is working with the children who are in need of physical assistance, not because of their need in particular, but because of my own lack of physical strength.
What is the easiest part of your job?
I believe that there is no easy part to my job because if it were easy, I would not have chosen to take part in it.
What is it about Richmond Hill Primary School that makes it special to you?
Richmond Hill Primary School is special to me because the administration, the teachers, and the other paraprofessionals were great examples to me at the start of my career. They showed me how to develop good relationships between fellow colleagues and students. The love and patience that the special education teachers and paraprofessionals showed their students with severe disabilities especially impressed me.
Bryan County Schools have a reputation for excellence. Why do you think that is?
All the faculty and staff do their best to provide the best educational environment for the students and their parents.
Being named the top parapro at Richmond Hill is quite an achievement. Is there anything else you'd like to say about the award?
I would like to share the credit with all the special education teachers and paraprofessionals. I received compliments for the achievements of a couple of students placed in my care this past year but those achievements were not due to my care but due to the accumulation of the care given by the students’ previous teachers. I would like to share all those compliments with all the other teachers who put so much effort into caring for the SPED students.