Frankie: Education as a career theme

September 9, 2023

Working in the classroom with the same 30 students over the course of a year, I noticed the nuances of how every individual student is different.

As back to school season begins, I’m reflecting on education, a theme that I have consistently gravitated toward throughout my career.

I’m a first generation Asian American born and raised in New York City. I am the oldest of my siblings and cousins, and the first to go to college.

I’m a product of the New York City public school system and I am grateful that I had a positive experience. Since my parents were immigrants, I respected our school system for fostering an environment where anyone could create opportunities for themselves by working hard no matter their background.

During college, I worked as a teaching assistant with America Reads and Counts for four years. I returned to the public elementary school I attended as a child and tutored students in reading, math, and technology. I loved seeing my school and former teachers in a new light and giving back to the community.

Working in the classroom with the same 30 students over the course of a year, I noticed the nuances of how every individual student is different. To be effective, you have to figure out how someone learns best and what they are motivated by. Sometimes you have to ask a lot of questions or repeatedly explain things in slightly different ways to identify how to support their learning style. And it often helps to associate what you’re trying to teach with something they already feel inspired by or can easily relate to - such as choosing content about a topic they are passionate about for reading, or teaching math with the physical money they already use in real life.

How you create the environment for them to grow is the key.

In my last year of the program, I worked at the computer lab and helped students across all grade levels. One day, the kids I tutored in second grade came into the lab. They were now in fifth grade - and I was struck when they still remembered me and some of the things I said.

Small interactions I had forgotten about had become their core memories and meaningful insights.

A couple of years after college, I intentionally switched career paths away from information technology, joining an education nonprofit called We built a fundraising platform to help public school teachers bring better learning experiences to classrooms all over the country. I felt fulfilled because my work helped improve public education at scale.

Eventually, I joined The Grand, where supporting our coaching programs and the opportunity to build with technology is an ideal match for my skills and passions. Coaching is focused on creating the supportive environment that helps people grow rather than transmitting skills or knowledge - which resonates deeply with my personal philosophy of teaching and education.

At The Grand, this is what we think about every day. How do we build this kind of  environment intentionally and create meaningful impact at scale? Our coaching programs, our community, our digital platform, and our future offerings are all attempts at fulfilling our vision.