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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Ceramics teacher Unsil Kim impacts students through art

Art+teacher+Unsil+Kim+oversees+freshman+Bereket+Kebede+on+his+painting+during+class+and+provides+helpful+advice.
Photo by Maria Sofronas
Art teacher Unsil Kim oversees freshman Bereket Kebede on his painting during class and provides helpful advice.

Immediately upon stepping foot into her classroom, it is evident what Unsil Kim is like as both an educator and individual; the atmosphere is a stark contrast to the bustling environment of the loud and crowded hallways outside of the wooden door of the room, with soft music playing and students conversing quietly at tables. The space instantly becomes comforting and safe, a direct reflection of the teacher who uses the classroom as a place to spread her love and knowledge of art.

Kim completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland with a degree in both Art History and Studio Art, and she also earned a master’s degree in Education from Columbus College in Georgia. “I chose to be a teacher because I like to work with children. Another reason why I teach is because I feel like surrounding myself with children or young adults keeps me young,” Kim said.

While Kim has a range of fond memories and evocations from her years of teaching, she recalls one of her experiences with a past student as her favorite. “My favorite thing is when I had a student who maybe had a lot of behavioral issues and literally had no interest in art, but then it turned around while he or she was in my class, and then we developed a good relationship and then they ended up appreciating art. And actually, that student remains to be one of my favorite students, and that was maybe seven or eight years ago,” Kim said.

Besides ceramics, Kim has a plethora of other hobbies and interests that she enjoys partaking in when she is not in school. “Outside of teaching, I still like to do art for myself,” Kim said. “I like to do a lot of home renovation and DIYs, and I like to do things like hiking, things that involve nature, or spending time with family. I’m also very involved in church work.”

Studio art teacher Quan Duong, who has been close with Kim for years, said, “Mrs. Kim is very caring and is always willing to help students, whether they are in her class or not. Not only is she a great teacher, but she is also a wonderful colleague to work with and a kind friend.” Another colleague of Kim’s, ceramics teacher Malinda Pierce, said, “Mrs. Kim is a great colleague. She has been very supportive of me as a person and as a teacher. Mrs. Kim is an artist who really cares about her students and helping them to also create beautiful art.”

As both Kim’s colleague and another art teacher, Duong’s favorite memory with Kim naturally revolves around art. “One of the fondest memories of Mrs. Kim is pre-pandemic when we took a bus full of art students to an art museum in Philadelphia. It was fun to see her, and our students, enjoy art in a non-school setting,” Duong said. However, Pierce’s fondest memory with Kim related to Puttin’ On The Hitz, better known as POTH. “We had the best time practicing and performing a dance to the song ‘RESPECT’ for POTH last year,” Pierce said. “We had so much fun that we did it again for Celebrate the Arts. Mrs. Kim is a team player and always thinks of ways to make our job fun.”

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