Teacher Spotlight: Jimmy Chia

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Teacher Spotlight: Jimmy Chia

At Sophio Academy, we understand that the key to a stellar education is stellar teachers. That’s why we’re celebrating one amazing Sophio teacher each week.

This week we had the opportunity to ask Jimmy Chia, one of Sophio Academy’s founding teachers, a few questions about his experience and perspective as a teacher. Aside from designing and teaching International Business 12 (BBB4M), World Cultures 12 (HSC4M), Challenge & Change 12 (HSB4U), Families in Canada 12 (HHS4U), and World History 12 (CHY4U), Jimmy has taught in six different countries across the world, including volunteer teaching for a year in the Marshall Islands in a community without electricity or running water. When he’s not teaching, Jimmy loves spending time with his two children, learning more about global cultures, and photography.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I always enjoyed the interactions I had with students as a tutor; it was such a rewarding experience, and one that led me to pursue a teaching career.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest difference between teaching an in-person class and teaching to students remotely?

It depends on whether the teaching is synchronous (occuring at the same time) or asynchronous (students being taught at different paces). There isn’t too much of a difference between synchronous teaching remotely versus in-person. Regardless of whether I’m teaching in-person or remotely, all my material is digital anyway, and that has always helped my students, because it’s easier for them to submit and complete their work. One significant difference between teaching virtually and in-person is, of course, the visual feedback that’s missing when you don’t have your students’ faces right in front of you to give you cues of what their enjoyment and comprehension levels are like when learning any given material. So when learning online, it’s important to address the lack of visual feedback with other feedback strategies.

What do you envision the high school educational landscape to look like in 5 years?

Online learning will definitely become a more important platform and option for students; however, I don’t foresee it replacing in-person teaching for students younger than a high school level, or for students who haven’t learned the discipline or responsibility to participate in online courses effectively yet.

If you could assign your students one book on any subject to read, what book would you choose? Why?

I like Lord of the Flies because it’s a great starting book for interpreting literary devices in an English-oriented class, and also because it’s a good starting point to discuss the concept of human nature with students. Human nature is always an important discussion, especially in the courses I teach.

If you could give your students one study tip that they’d remember for the rest of their educational journey, what would it be?

In our world today, students are disadvantaged significantly more than I was when I was a student. There are simply too many distractions that students today are faced with. A key for their success is to work to develop their self-control, just like you build and strengthen a muscle by flexing it, so that they’re able to reduce the swaying power of these constant distractions we’re faced with today from keeping them from achieving their goals.

What’s the most fulfilling experience you’ve had as a teacher at Sophio Academy?

It’s always a joy to see my course material be imparted effectively to students who put in the work to really learn the material. Compared to an in-person class, the interactions I have with students are limited, but when students require clarification or help with concepts, it’s always enjoyable to interact with them about the content.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Jimmy!

Responses have been edited for clarity and length. Learn more about our Sophio Academy community at www.sophio.ca.