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Palmer teacher instills confidence in students

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 1:07 PDT, Fri June 26, 2020

John Shim’s former students remember him as a community builder.

Over the course of his career, Shim has inspired and supported many former students—some of whom say they’ve become teachers because of the example he set. This year, Shim received a Loran Teachers Building Leaders Award after being nominated by 2015 Palmer graduate and Loran Scholar Bonnie Zhang.

“He really is someone who cares, about the community and about his students,” says Zhang.

That sentiment was echoed by several other former students, who highlighted Shim’s encouraging outlook and genuine interest in their lives.

Along with Palmer alumni and students, Shim founded a non-profit organization called Quantum Continuum Community Society. For over 10 years, the organization engaged all grades, as well as alumni, through encouragement, inspiration and education.

Being a science teacher doesn’t prevent Shim from thinking outside the box in the classroom.

“Ultimately I look to develop the whole person: intellectual, physical, socio-emotional and spiritual,” Shim says of his teaching philosophy.

And outside the curriculum, he finds joy in helping students discover their potential and feel supported to seek their purpose in life. 

“It may seem corny to some, but I try to find something redemptive and beautiful every day,” he says.

He has only good things to say about former student Zhang, who he calls “a rising star.”

“Bonnie is one of those people who are ‘superstars in disguise’,” Shim adds.

His focus on relationship building and community engagement has been challenged by remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. But he’s found new ways to connect through polls, messaging and multimedia during online classes.

Shim was honoured and thankful to receive the award, but says he shares it with all those who have been part of his communities over the years. 

“We say ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ and I am so thankful for all those I have worked with since they have been part of the village raising me.”

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