Shizue Sommer teaches Kindergarten Japanese at International Charter Academy of Georgia. Shizue loves kids and has always been fascinated with bilingual education, which is only part of why we’re honoring her for Charter Teacher Appreciation Week!
“Many of our kindergarteners do not speak or know Japanese when they enter our school. As the school year goes by, our kindergarteners can sing Japanese songs, read Japanese alphabets, and speak Japanese words. Ms. Sommer is broadening the horizons of students in Georgia to encompass a diverse international community, preparing them to become global citizens that promote peace around the world,” says Miki Ito, the Sr. Operations at Specialist International Charter Academy of Georgia.
Shizue always puts her students first. In addition to preparing her students and families to be ready for distance learning/hybrid model, she simultaneously had to learn how to use new technology and new ways of teaching. One parent commented that “virtual school was hard but [our daughter’s] teachers were very caring and did their best for her and all the kids.”
When the pandemic started in March 2019, their school also transitioned to all virtual classes for all grades. This concerned the kindergarten teachers, who wondered if their students were able to log into virtual classes, stay focused, and most importantly: learn Japanese virtually.
Using highly engaging methods, Shizue made sure the virtual classes are fun for all of her students. With fellow teachers, she also helped to continue the school’s annual Japanese cultural events virtually. When our school transitioned back to hybrid model, Shizue taught her students in-person as well as online simultaneously.