Mr. Han Kim, an expert in transformations


Marissa Werner

Mr. Han Kim, a well-known mathematics teacher here at North Penn, has undergone many experiences before his days of teaching transformations.

TOWAMENCIN- “Bathroom.” The only word North Penn Math teacher, Mr. Han Kim, knew when he first moved from South Korea to America at the young age of 15. But that is history, as a slow start to this country had nothing but a positive impact on him. His goals, which have altered since his arrival, have not only been met, but have soared higher than ever imagined.

As Kim started 10th grade in nearby Glenside, PA, no english as a second language classes were available like they are today. Science and Math, two subjects that don’t alter too much country to country, were classes he enjoyed and could progress in like any other student. The same could not be said for English or History class.

They put me into this closet and put the TV on, and I watched Sesame Street for over year, but then the year after that I was placed into the regular classes,” explained Kim.

They put me into this closet and put the TV on, and I watched Sesame Street for over year, but then the year after that I was placed into the regular classes”

— Mr. Han Kim - Mathematics Teacher

On top of trying to learn the complex language of English, a second language class was mandatory, and every student had to take it in order to graduate. Kim, who had not yet mastered the English language, chose to add Spanish to his learning list.

Conquering not only high school, but an entire new language, Kim was on the path to success as he headed to Penn State University with a major in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, Kim traveled up to New Hampshire to work for a company called Raytheon. They were the first company to sell the microwave. They used the energy from a microwave, which was at that time used for military weapons, to heat food and make it into an appliance. With the forlorn events of a family emergency regarding his parents, Kim had to resign and move back home to care for his parents.

No jobs in the field of Mechanical Engineering were available at the time Kim returned home, and he was forced to look into a different field.

“My buddy was teaching in the Philadelphia School District at the time and said there was a big shortage of Math and Science teachers and told me to contact them. I called them and told them my story, and because the work that I did previously was all based on the Defense Contract, I had to go through the Security Check and everything, and because I had a clearance for that, they hired me the next day. Even though I didn’t have any education background they gave me three years to complete that and I received my masters with my teaching certificate,” shared Kim.

After seven years in the Philadelphia area teaching, Mr. Kim found the job that he would now call home. In 2001 Kim started at North Penn and has been here ever since. Teaching a variety of levels between Pre-Calculus, Algebra 2, and Geometry, Kim has found a great deal of happiness with his students and coworkers throughout the years.

We have a great department, we are really close, and we all help each other. It’s like a family and we get along really well”

— Mr. Han Kim

“We have a great department, we are really close, and we all help each other. It’s like a family and we get along really well…being with different people everyday and each day is so different, there is never a dull moment,”emphasized Kim about his experience with North Penn co-workers and students.

When Kim isn’t with his North Penn family, he likes to spend time with his biological family. With a son and a daughter both in high school, Mr. Kim is always on his toes keeping up with everything. With a daughter starting college next fall, this time of the year is very engaging and exciting for their family as the future speedily approaches.  

Even with his own kids at home, Kim remembers vividly an inspiring moment from his own childhood. When he was younger Kim was very ill had to receive a major surgery when he was around seven years old. More than a week had passed before he finally woke up from the surgery; Kim claims he thought he was dreaming. A bike he had been desiring for so long was right in his peripheral view as his eyes opened for what seemed the first time. His uncle had given it to him and filled him with such a great amount of joy after a disappearing event.

But since then Kim has attained many impressive achievements and continues to show his passion for positive impacts on other people

“Mr. Kim has a unique way of motivation, almost like a drill sergeant but not as strict. He definitely has shown me some key ideas behind becoming a teacher. Such as how preparation is super important, that’s one thing he stresses everyday…going forward, especially if I want to do this for the rest of my life, he has definitely shown me that there is going to be people there for me but I have to figure it out on my own. He has been a very good co-op, and I am very thankful for everything he has done for me this year,” explained Mr. Adam Mannino, Kim’s student teacher for the past couple months, when asked how Kim has helped him pursue his passion for education.