Jenny Kim Tak, ’06, English teacher, Lexington High School
What’s been your career path?
I currently teach 10th and 12th grade English courses at Lexington High School. I love the opportunities I have to talk about literature with my students on a daily basis, see them develop insight about life and about themselves through what they read, discuss, and write about. Even though it can be the most tedious part of the job, I really enjoy giving my 100 students feedback on their writing. Many of them often surprise me with their insights, and digging deeply into their ideas—expanding and developing them—gives me intellectual pleasure. Needless to say, it is most rewarding to see students taking their ideas and writing seriously through giving and receiving feedback.
I studied Korean literature on a Fulbright Grant the year after graduating from Wellesley. Upon coming back, I took a job at a business development/human resources department of a boutique investment management firm in Harvard Square. It was there I realized that I had to get back into the world of education and of literature. I returned to Wellesley's education department to be certified in teaching secondary education, received my Master's at Columbia Teachers' college, and began working at Lexington High School three years ago.
How did your English major prepare you for your career?
I found my love for reading, discussing, and writing about literature when I was at Wellesley. The writing assignments that absorbed me in my own English courses—starting from close passage/poetry analysis to longer papers that require reading of criticism ground me in my own teaching of literary analysis and what it means to join a discourse. My most memorable assignment was from Milton where my professor asked that we connect our thesis to our personal lives and philosophies. At least one assignment a year, I have my students weave personal essay with textual analysis. I want my students to experience how rigorous textual analysis can and should resonate with who they are.
Were any internships particularly helpful to your job search?
I was a Writing 199 Tutor my senior year. Designing my own syllabus and working with one student in her writing was an opportunity that I treasure.