Hyun Lee will both greet and say goodbye to her students in Korean one last time as a Brahma on May 30.
Lee, who is in her 45th year of teaching, expressed her wish to relax and enjoy what life has in store for her upon her retirement. Over the course of 13 years at Diamond Bar High School, Lee has taught levels one through four of regular and honors Korean in addition to Algebra 1.
“I think I deserve [a break] after 45 years of teaching,” Lee said. “I want to do whatever I want to do. A small part is also my health, but it’s OK.”
A graduate of the Seoul National University of Education, Lee began her career in Korea, teaching for 22 years at elementary schools. After immigrating to the United States, Lee received her teaching credentials in mathematics and Korean at Cal State Northridge. She then taught at Corona Norco Adult School until 2006, when she began teaching Korean at DBHS.
In addition to her work at DBHS, Lee has also been the president of Dream Language School in Pasadena for 23 years.
Lee said that the most rewarding aspect of teaching is having the opportunity to see her students share Korean culture with others through K-pop, food and more. A fond memory of Lee’s is of her students learning Korean for the first time.
“In Korean I, they [students] do not have any previous knowledge about Korean,” Lee said. “But only after four weeks, they can read and write and speak all the while understanding Korean culture.”
In her retirement, Lee plans on spending more time to be with her family and spending time alone. Lee will continue to preside over and teach Korean at Dream Language School.
“I plan to read books that I did not have time to read when [I was] working,” Lee said. “I also plan to volunteer at places that might benefit from my help. Of course, I look forward to relaxing with my family.”
Above all else, Lee said that she will miss her students, both past and present.
“During [the time] teaching my students at Diamond Bar High School, I had numerous unforgettable and invaluable memories,” Lee said. “I will surely miss everyone at Diamond Bar High School. Most of all, I will miss my students, who demonstrated interest, passion, joy and tenacity in learning Korean language and culture.”
Looking back on her journey in life, Lee hopes she had an impact on her students. During her Korean classes, Lee often imparts Korean proverbs, with sayings like “Well begun is half done” or “The walls have ears,” to help guide students’ choices in life.
“I wish they [students] find a goal in their lives and keep making progress toward their goals. I want them to strive toward the goal so that they won’t live a life of regret,” Lee said.