Lay Kou- Southland Elementary

Feb 1, 2021, 4:11 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2024, 3:56 pm

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Updated nomination: February 2021

“At the end of the 2019/2020 school year my daughter was lost. She had been a part of the dual emersion program learning Mandarin Chinese and switching from in person to online schooling had simply demoralized her. She was struggling, hating every second of it and just miserable. When the school year ended she wanted to quit! As her parents we encouraged her to keep with it and ensured her that the next year would be better.

Enter Lay Kou! Our daughter now comes home every day and tells us how great school was for the day. Our daughters language skills have really begun to blossom along with her skills in Math and other subjects. She just likes going to school! Because of the dual emersion aspect of the program our daughter has two teachers, and they are both fantastic so I do not want to take anything away from the fantastic work her English teacher Jana Sharp is doing however Lay Kou has really pushed our daughter to another level (and pushed us as parents to another level as well). One of the most amazing things about Lay Kou is that she isn’t an easy teacher, if anything she is challenging and always pushing the fringe of what our child can achieve. She has high expectations of both the children and the parents. She is organized and on top of things and if our daughter isn’t living up to what is expected of her (in class and homework) she pushes her to do better and also pushes us as parents to do better. She keeps the parents informed with weekly updates (sometimes more frequent) and follows up with emails about homework and just the general status of how things are going in class. It is this commitment to education both in class and at home that I am nominating Lay Kou for the Teacher Feature!”

Submitted by: Michael Petrogeorge

Submit your teaching hero! Click here to submit your teacher

Original Nomination: May 2018

The following was submitted by Emma Drennan.

“I would like to nominate the kindest, most humble teacher I have ever met. She teaches the Chinese half of the immersion for 3rd grade at my children’s school. She spends countless hours preparing for each lesson to make sure that not only do the kids learn, but that they LOVE to learn. Being a dual-immersion teacher is very hard. You have twice the amount of papers to correct, twice the amount of kids to make sure are reaching their benchmarks. She cares so deeply about the success of each child. She is constantly researching new ways to teach concepts because she knows, as any good mother, that children learn in different ways. She is always positive in her speech. She even has uplifting quotes at the end of each email she sends. She is beloved by all her students and parents.

But this isn’t the most important reason that she should be honored. About four months ago, my husband suddenly found himself without employment. Not only was this a great shock, but this came when our youngest of six kids was just 6 weeks old. As soon as Mrs. Kou found out, she emailed if there was anything she could do. She wanted to make sure that our son Taylor was fine, and that we had enough to make ends meet. I assured her we were fine.

Then one Thursday evening in December, she came to our home with her two daughters. She had brought us a large box of food, baby wipes, and nice gifts for each one of us. I was reduced to tears of course. The kids were overjoyed with this great surprise, and my son, Taylor, knew for sure that his teacher cared so much for him and his family. You can imagine my surprise, when the very next day, she again came to our home. This time with the school principal in tow. They brought food, coats, back packs, and KSL Quarters for Christmas gift cards for each of my children. I wish I could express adequately how touched I was. I had no idea that schools had resources like this for families. I am ashamed to say that I have only contributed once to the Quarters for Christmas campaign, but I will be a faithful contributor from now on. Then, just before Valentine’s Day, she sent home a box of valentines with my son to make sure he would have something to give out. She is always thoughtful.

One example of how she brings fun to learning was using the Olympics. The kids were learning a fan dance for the boys, and a ribbon dance for the girls, to celebrate the Chinese New Year in the school assembly. These are hard dances for 8 and 9 year old kids to learn in just a few weeks. She used videos of athletes making mistakes, and then getting right back up and trying again. She taught them that it is important to never give up. To keep trying. She also applied this in regards to taking their multiplications tests. For some kids, they are very easy. But for some kids, like my son, these test can be very frustrating. This lesson made a great impact on my son. Mrs. Kou truly knows how to inspire her students to keep trying no matter what. I wish that every kid could have Mrs. Kou for a teacher, and each one of us have her as a friend.

I hope that you will consider Mrs. Lay Kou as a recipient of your teacher feature award. Teaching is a hard profession. It is one that is struggling to get new recruits. As a parent, I hope that we can recognize more teachers like Mrs. Kou, who teach purely because they love the children. They have hope for a great future for these kids. They teach because they know that each child needs to be told they are important, they must never give up, and that they will succeed. Children achieve these goals when they feel in their little hearts that their teacher loves them no matter what point on the line of success they are on.

Thank you for you time in considering my nomination!”

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Lay Kou- Southland Elementary