Here to stay

Cliff Hong, an assistant principal and new teacher coach at Oakland’s Edna Brewer Middle School, is one of 20 young teachers and administrators from across the country this year to be honored as an Emerging Leader by Phi Delta Kappa International.

In a podcast interview posted on the organization’s Web site, Hong said that he quit law school after one year and went into teaching — first as a Teach for America newbie in the South Bronx, and later as an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Brewer.

“I haven’t looked back since,” he said.

Hong said he fully intends to stay in Oakland Unified for his entire career — eventually as a school principal, but no higher up the chain — and that he encourages new teachers to put down roots as well by emphasizing the impact they can have in an urban school district.

You can listen to the podcast here (I think you need QuickTime for it to work).

In your experience, what has made you want to stay in a particular school — or in the education field? Do you, like Hong, just try to focus on all of the rewarding aspects of urban education (and set aside that minor issue of pay)?

What keeps you going?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • John

    I admire this guys coping strategy! “Not looking back”
    could well make it a lot easier to continue forward in the OUSD. Another stragety is to selectively ignore the ranking adults and laser focus on the kids.

    For young teachers intent on doing an entire career in the OUSD, please ignore the wise old adage that, “Those (institutions) who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” By careers end you may well be suffering from a chronic sense of negative dejavu, just don’t ask yourself or others “why” and you’ll have made it over the finish line none the wiser and a lot happier. Heck, you might even end up staying on as a substitute teacher and union volunteer. It could end like that, I’ve seen it happen to others.