Meet the Ambassador – Kenny Bae
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a […]
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a workforce increasingly in need of 21st-century skills.
Get to know our ambassadors in the coming weeks as we share their stories of what inspired them to get involved in teaching robotics and STEM.
This week’s profile features Kenny Bae, STEAM Teacher at Wolcott College Prep (Chicago, IL).
How did you first become exposed to robotics or STEM?
I first became exposed to robotics when I had a small group of students that wanted to start a robotics team when our school was founded. We didn’t have a lot of money and space. We started in a small closet-sized room, with a few hand tools and $40.
What is your favorite thing about teaching robotics or STEM?
I find the most fulfillment in being a part of a student’s journey, from starting with no experience in robotics/STEM and becoming a master teacher of robotics/STEM where they are teaching me new skills or ideas. With a growth mind set, I think anyone can learn robotics/STEM.
How do you see robotics and STEM evolving over the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
I believe the changing consumer preferences and social trends will push the need for advanced robotics solutions. The new generation of people who desire quicker deliveries of customized products will expand robot capacity in manufacturing individualization and logistics applications. Our students will need to be prepared to be knowledgeable in robotics and engineering, whether they are the consumer end of robotics or the designer/creator of robotics.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I did volunteer work in Kenya, Africa, right after my graduate studies. I spent several months in rural villages visiting and helping many students. I remember seeing an orphanage, and I met an orphanage child there that impacted me. While I was there, I found that there was a strong need for quality STEM teachers. I felt the sense to go into teaching from there.
What do you think has changed the most about teaching since you first started compared to where you are in your teaching career now?
I always have taught in private schools. I remember starting out teaching to the textbook because of my lack of experience. Over time, I have learned that customizing a curriculum to the students learning style, and also that is project-based with a greater purpose, has brought me far more success with my students.
What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a result of teaching?
I remember starting out teaching to the textbook because of my lack of experience. It was boring, ineffective and my students lacked engagement with it. Over time, I have learned to customize a curriculum tailored to the students learning style. I learned to provide a project-based curriculum that serves a greater purpose of helping or serving the people around us, which has brought me far more success.
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing teaching?
On my door, I have a sign that says, “leave as a better person.” It’s not about being perfect or being the best. It’s about learning from your mistakes, making progress each day, challenging yourself, and being better every time in the class. This advice is not only for my students but also for myself or anyone who enters the class.
Find Kenny on LinkedIn.
To learn more about our Teacher Ambassador Program, visit the TAP page. Ambassadors work closely with the UBTECH Education team to test and develop curriculum activities using our UKITs. If you’re interested in bringing UKITs to your class or district, we’d love to chat.