Patton reflects on events that lead her to Johnson

Rachael Patton, director of undergraduate education and elementary education in the Johnson University Templar School of Education, shares her love for education with students across the world, which, eventually led her to teach at Johnson University.

Growing up as the child of missionaries in Seoul, South Korea Patton learned to appreciate other cultures.

She developed the ability and desire to travel, and the desire to try new exotic foods. All the while understanding what its like to be in a culture she was not part of.

This desire lead her from her hometown of Seoul, South Korea to Johnson University in East Tennessee to work on her undergraduate degree in Education.

Once completing her bachelor’s degree, she began to teach in her parents home state of Oregon while working on completing her master’s in Education.

Finally, returning to Johnson after completing her Ph.D at the University of Tennessee, she became part of the faculty in 1997.

“I feel called to be at Johnson because of the experiences I had teaching in an international school children’s home, and being in a Christian school in Oregon gave me the background I needed to work with people who were going to be teaching in public school, private school, and international school.  So I had experience in all of those locations,” said Patton.

On returning to her hometown of Seoul, South Korea Patton said,“I went back and taught at the international school. I graduated from as a first grade through high school, and I went back and taught there for four years. So I had teaching experience as well as a completely different experience living there as an adult than as a child.”

Even though she considered it home and was not expecting to experience the culture shock, she found that due to the rapid growth of the city of Seoul–everything had changed.

According to Patton, this made it hard to fit in because it felt like going back to her home town without any of the people there. This was ”an odd sensation” for her by feeling at home but also feeling like an outsider.

Working with English as second language students during her time in South Korea helped her with understanding what its like to be in a culture she was not part of.

This experience has helped her when working with students experiencing culture shock, who are immigrating to this country or even students moving from another state to Johnson University.

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