Jan Fukushima currently is a retired teacher that volunteers at Olita School in the Lowell Joint School District with Kindergartners and First-graders, and she has been in education since 1972.
1.) What was your most valuable student experience while at Pomona (sports, internships, extracurriculars, on-campus job, etc.)?
My most valuable student experience at Pomona was time spent with classmates in informal settings, primarily dorm rooms.
2.) What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What is most rewarding?
The biggest challenge of my work was determining how to facilitate success for all levels of students. There were two [types of challenging student], those with academic difficulties and those who were exhibiting severe behavior problems. For those who were academically challenged, they had trouble understanding certain skills, like locating the correct answer in a passage or story for a comprehension question.
The most rewarding part of my work was seeing the "light" come on when a student grasped a concept. To enable a student to grasp a difficult concept, it is important to use as many ways as possible to teach the skill (e.g., oral instruction, written instruction, visuals) and to do a lot of repetition.
3.) Was your first job after graduating from Pomona related to your current profession?
My first job after graduation was related to my profession. I was an aide at the high school in Durham, North Carolina as my husband finished law school.
4.) How do you stay up to date on trends within your industry? (books, professional associations, journals, conferences)
I stayed up to date in my profession by attending in-services, which is information that is passed on to a group of teachers by someone from the district office or an outside consultant.
Currently I volunteer three mornings per week at Olita School in the Lowell Joint School District. Last year I volunteered in a kindergarten, first-grade, and special day class. This coming year I'll be in a kindergarten and two first-grade classes.