Choe Returns


Courtesy of Choe

Veronic Choe in a dinosaur costume for Halloween posing with a student.

Ridhima L. Kodali, Managing Editor

It was the Friday before the first day of school, Aug. 27 when former Huron Chemistry teacher Veronica Choe received a call from Huron’s assistant principal Michael Sumerton. 

“We have this position,” Sumerton told Choe. “We’d love to have you back and you should apply for it.”

Choe left Huron for the betterment of her mental health. She felt that being in the education field was a really hard field to be in and work in. 

“It’s not just like, ‘oh we don’t get paid enough’  but it’s like we work so hard every hour of the day,” Choe said. “ I learned about myself that, regardless of where I am or what my job is, I’m going to go extra hard 110 percent all the time. I just realized that I need to be able to live my own personal life, while still existing as an educator, it’s my job. ‘It can’t be my entire life’ is basically what I came to.”

After leaving Huron in January of 2020, Choe became a teacher at Slauson Middle School. She taught Math 6, Algebra 1, Geometry AC, Science 8 and Math Strategies. 

“My principal, Dr. Anglin, was amazing,” Choe said. “I learned and grew so much working for her because she’s another woman of color. She saw something in me that maybe I didn’t even know was there, and gave me leadership positions even though I was new to the school. She was able to see my skills and it was nice to be acknowledged for that and to be given the opportunity to do those things.”

Being at Slauson, Choe grew professionally and personally. But teaching middle-schoolers wasn’t the right fit for her. She liked teaching high-school students better.

“The middle school kids are so sweet,” Choe said. “I think in high school, kids have a better idea of who they are or they’re thinking about who they want to become, whereas middle school students seem too young to me. But it was a really, really positive experience. I can’t say anything bad about working there.”

She is also the assistant coach for the Huron volleyball team since she was a student teacher at Huron from 2016.  Coaching and coming to practice every day last year, undoubtedly was the best thing Choe said she had in terms of socialization. 

“It was really great to be part of something during remote learning,” Choe said. “All of my favorite experiences [with coaching and teaching] are when my students learn about themselves, a new thing, like hey I can do this, or they learn your skill and they’re proud of it. That brings me the most joy, because whatever part I had in that, it makes me feel like I’ve done something in this life. I’m a person who needs purpose in life and I think part of that is satisfied with students getting to like to grow and progress and I think that’s like the most wonderful, wonderful thing about this job.”

Choe did enough soul searching during the pandemic that helped her make the decision to come back. 

And so she ended up applying for the position. 

“I know that I’m a high school teacher,” Choe said. “Not a middle school teacher. So I applied and was at peace with my decision. I was really hoping that I would get it. This is a good opportunity to come back to a different department and try something new. I just love Huron, it’s a super special place to me. That’s why I came back.”

Choe currently teaches Credit Recovery, Web Design and Personal Project at Huron, working closely with Jonathan Cook (of the CTE department), who is another Web Design teacher. 

With Credit Recovery, Choe’s in a lot of different spaces as many people are working on different subjects and it’s her favorite class to teach this year. 

“I think that the students who typically end up in that class have previously decided something about themselves as a student,” Choe said. “I want them to think differently from what they’ve decided because sometimes it could be like ‘hey I’m not a math person.’ And for me, I’m not saying I’m gonna make you a math person, but I don’t want you to think you can’t do something just because you haven’t been successful before. I want students to approach challenges in a different way. I want to see what skills they have and use those skills for them to progress through their stuff. so, I like this class because students get to see something that they didn’t know about themselves before, and they come out stronger at the end.”

She continued. 

“I feel really, really good about the decision. I love the department that I’m in. It’s awesome. There’s a lot of room for growth here and a lot of room to like for me to do things that remind me of why I got into this job in the first place — serving communities that are underserved. Now, with Mr. Carter being here like, it just feels different.”

Ironically, Choe heard about Dr. Janet Schwamb’s retirement, through The Huron Emery instagram and was rooting for Carter ever since the interviews. 

“I was really happy that an alumni of Huron is now the principal,” Choe said. “He worked at Clague so he knows the students. It feels so full circle. And the fact that Mr. Carter making announcements in the morning is pretty awesome.  I can see some of the middle school things that he’s brought to Huron and I think they are really beneficial.”

Working in a completely different environment now, teaching completely different subjects, Choe is able to consider different career paths and said would be more inclined to teach math again, like she did at Slauson, over science. 

“ What I’ve learned is teaching science is really hard because there’s aspects of science that don’t exist in other disciplines like having labs, But I would love to teach science in a way that’s not so rigid. I would love to teach a cooking elective class that has science concepts built into it, where it’s a more approachable thing.”

Choe would be open to teaching Chemistry again. 

“It’s my love,” she emphasizes in a chipper voice. “It’s what I went to school for. I think it’s super interesting. I just wish that I could teach it in a way that’s accessible to everyone. How do we build and break down those obstacles for students in chemistry?  How do we make it so that we can still teach the chemistry content without relying so much on the math or something else? I think about that a lot, but potentially yes…… Who knows?”

For Choe, the CTE department has been super supportive and she is just continuing and trying to do her part. 

“I’m excited to be back,” Choe said. “ I have ideas for the future, and I wasn’t in that place last year. Last year, I felt like I was trying to survive.  Now I feel like I’m beginning to thrive in this spot. So it’s nice. I’m evolving.”