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Jin Zhou says goodbye after 23 years of teaching

Giovanna Garcia
Jin Zhou enjoys her last months of teaching after spending 23 years teaching science. Throughout her time as a teacher, her main goal was to prepare students for college and future successes. “It brings me great satisfaction to have the opportunity to positively impact the future generations and hope with the consistency, diligence, and warmth, I can ultimately inspire students to reach their full potential,” said Zhou.

After 23 years of teaching in the science department, Jin Zhou says goodbye. Her position as a teacher and mentor atop of her caring personality will forever stay with the many students she taught and whom she inspired. Students will remain forever impacted by her teaching and overall presence. Her cheerful and charismatic personality helped students succeed and improve their academic performance.

Nearly ten years into working at the Children’s Hospital of L.A. and City of Hope, Zhou decided to make a change in her career from research to being a science teacher. Despite the major shift, Zhou believes it was for the best and has rewarded her significantly.

“I know in my heart that being a teacher is the best decision I have ever made,” said Zhou.

Throughout her 23 years of teaching, Zhou taught various science classes including physical science, biology, Advanced Placement (AP) biology, honors biology, chemistry, and AP chemistry. Currently teaching biology honors and AP biology, Zhou feels motivated to continue seeing her students persevere and work hard by making her students feel safe in the classroom and know that she cares for them.

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Freshman Emma Pena appreciated the welcoming environment Zhou made the class feel. Her optimistic personality and comforting feeling made Pena’s freshman year amusing and easier for her as it is a major transition from middle school to high school.

“She was like one of the first teachers on the first day who was like genuinely happy and comforting…she is my favorite teacher, I mean I just got here so I don’t know what the other teachers are like but I don’t think there could be anyone here that could replace Ms. Zhou,” said Pena.

With her retirement approaching, Zhou’s passion for teaching will continue to be a special place in her life and will miss her everyday interactions with students. A large part of Zhou’s teaching involved having close relationships with her students to ensure they efficiently learn the subject as well as to interact with them to build strong bonds, which is what most of her students especially value and worship.

“I’m going to miss interact[ing] with my students, yeah because talking to them, and it really make[s] me, I don’t know, just so happy. That’s my favorite part of teaching, yeah to talk to my students,” said Zhou.

Along with Pena, sophomore Kimora Padilla also expressed her gratitude towards Zhou and how she felt impacted by her teaching and caring personality. Zhou’s motivational talks with her students pushed Padilla to continue working hard and never give up. Zhou’s hard work and determination to make sure no one failed her class consisted of as much help as possible and attention to the students she felt needed the extra help.

“She encouraged me no matter how much I didn’t do my work, she actually interacts with us. She like, refused to let any of her students fail. Like she helped them in any way to make sure they passed even if it was like with a C but she’d make them pass,” said Padilla.

From spending time and working with students every day for the past 23 years, Zhou will mostly miss her students whom she has felt impacted by the same way they felt impacted by her.

After Zhou retires, she plans to learn new skills and spend time finding new hobbies to continue having a busy day schedule.

“I’m thinking maybe first I will start cooking, learn how to cook. Yeah, cooking and then maybe do some traveling,” said Zhou.

This story was originally published on Insight on March 22, 2024.