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Chang the World

Jayson Chang

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My name is Jayson Chang. I am a high school social science teacher out in the San Francisco Bay Area with a love for travel. Originally a SoCal native, I moved up to the Bay for my teaching career. At the moment, I teach World History and Government & Economics. Since my second year, I have been exclusively teaching history thematically. Since then, I have been sharing my thoughts and help others develop their own thematic curriculum.

I completed my BA in Liberal Arts with an International Studies concentration at Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, CA. Afterwards, I worked for 2.5 years in the private sector as a copy editor and later as a project manager. Completely unhappy with corporate life, I left the sector and completed my single subject social science credential and MA in Education at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA. 

I knew I always wanted to be in education and be an educator. On my very first day as a student teacher, I knew this is where I belonged. I thought it would be great to create a platform to share my teaching/life experiences & reflections. I am also driven by wanting to show how an Asian American traverses through the education space, where we are few in number and if we are in this space we are often assumed to be a STEM teacher. I am often mistaken for a math or science teacher simply because of my race. As a result, I also want this platform to be a space to show that Asian Americans can be educators and not necessarily just in STEM subjects. Asian Americans, too, can teach social science. 

 

Since becoming an educator, I have been building and expanding my expertise in various aspects of education: critical pedagogy, culturally relevant pedagogy, social emotional learning, relationship-centered classrooms, blended learning, thematic teaching, critical race theory, anti-bias/anti-racist education, AAPI curriculum development, pedagogical reflection, etc. At school, I am advisor to a variety of clubs, including the Business Club, Medical Club, Tutoring Club, LatinX Student Association, Social Justice Society, Equity & Inclusions Club, and Women's Empowerment Club. Outside of school, I am an active social/racial justice advocate and union representative and organizer for the California Teachers Association and National Education Association, holding a variety of roles and responsibilities, such as being a member of CTA's Racial Equity Affairs Committee, an alternate director to the California NEA Board of Directors, an officer to both CTA Pacific Asian American Caucus and NEA Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, a member of the Instructional Leadership Corps, and board member to the Institute for Teaching. AND outside of that, I am an educational consultant (lead instructor, curriculum developer, and project manager) for The Asian American Education Project.

As you can see, I am spread out in many areas of education, bringing plenty of experience. Some of you might be wondering if I even sleep. I do.

 

Here I will reflect on my teaching experiences/lessons, advice, and thoughts to those who might be interested in pursuing a teaching career, already in the profession, or just curious what the mind of an educator is like. I will also be sharing my curricular resources here.

I love to travel because I like to expose myself to different cultures and people. Those experiences not only help me grow as a person but it also trickles back down into my educational practices, especially as a social science teacher. 

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What is the meaning behind chang the world?

Some people reading this are probably already thinking,” This guy spelled ‘change’ wrong.” To make things clear, it’s not spelled wrong. It is in fact “Chang.” It's an obvious pun with my last name. 

How did all of this come about? There is quite an interesting backstory to this. One late night in college, a couple friends and I were just loitering in the dorms, engaged in our deep, meaningful dialogues. The topic of words came up during our intense sober philosophical exchange. We were just amazed at how certain words carry such powerful feelings…or just plain catchy in general…like typical one-syllable Chinese last names: Chang, Lee, Chen, Wong, Ho, Liu, Zhu, etc. Then we thought,” Hey. Chang the world. That’s pretty catchy.” And thus, “Chang the World” was conceived. It just became a catchphrase of mine for the remainder of my college years. If anything, it probably replaced the word “change.” Hmm…If that is the case, then I guess you can accuse me of spelling “change” wrong. But I prefer “conquer” more. Yes…conquer the world. At some point in life, we all wanted to conquer the world, right? Once you conquer the world, you can bend and change it to your heart’s full desire. Veni, vidi, vici.

Anyways, college ended and after a series of tumultuous events, I found myself working in the real world. Such a harsh environment it is! It made college look like a utopia, which is not true after all those petty drama, drunken debauchery, and countless hours spent studying at the library. The clash of these two worlds had a profound impact on my new life. It made me question many things: the purpose of education, purpose in life, what life is, etc. “Chang the World” never escaped my mind. It was always lingering there, harassing my mind. One day, I told my friends that I will “Chang the World” in the future. One of my dear friends responded, ”Dude, you’re Chang-ing the world every day.” That’s when I came to the revelation:

It’s not just a catchphrase. It’s a new way of life.

By living, I am Chang-ing the world. Anybody can Chang the world. Perhaps this is all existential. Over the years, I have done my own fair share of traveling and it has opened my eyes beyond the horizon. My liberal arts background empowered me the critical thinking skills to be constantly aware of my surroundings, raising critical questions if deemed necessary. It also allowed me to learn and absorb a variety of fields: philosophy, history, international relations, science, mathematics, political science, etc. These experiences, compounded with the invaluable interactions of people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, have equipped me with the necessary skills and tools to Chang the world. 

When I quit my corporate job and became a teacher, I decided to continue to use it as cheesy as it sounded. I expected to see eyeballs rolling. Instead, I found it was surprisingly receptive among my students. A few of them started to write "Chang" in place of "change," which I found absolutely hysterical. When I actually use the word "change," some try to correct me with "Don't you mean Chang??"

And I hope you can Chang the world as well.