Historian Turned English Teacher: Presenting Ms. Nagy

New Middle School ELA Instructor Shares Her Professional Path and Other Fun Bits

Typically, everyone has a specific dream job or goal when they are young, whether it’s becoming a scientist, historian, or teacher. Well, Ms. Nagy is the contrary – deviating from a history major, she is set to explore diverse cultures and experiment with different traditions. 

Ms. Nagy and her parents celebrate her achievement in earning her English master’s degree. Photo courtesy of Ms. Nagy.

Why did you come to DIS?

I decided to come to Korea because I really wanted to work in educational backgrounds outside of the US. I wanted to explore the food and culture, which is why I thought DIS would give me a good opportunity to do so. 

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy calming activities in my free time like reading and swimming because they help me escape from reality for a while. 

During her stay in Honduras, Ms. Nagy traveled to Macaw Mountain and interacted with the colorful birds. Photo courtesy of Ms. Nagy’s family.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

A professor of mine asked me what I was doing as a History student, and I switched my major from History to English and I was like, “What do I do now?” I remember that my English teacher was really impactful in my life, so I wanted to provide that kind of connection to my students too.

What do you do to remember your students’ names?

I have my students take a video of themselves pronouncing their names. Then, as I watch those videos, I try to memorize and read out their names in the classroom. 

What is your favorite thing about DIS?

The kids and the student community in general – they’re very strong and supportive. As a newcomer to Daegu in general, I felt very supported by the student community as they gave me new things to try. They’re always very descriptive about what I can do, such as food or things to do around town. They’ve also helped me with some of my Korean! And I really appreciated that support from the community.

How do you know Ms. Loutsch?

My relationship with Ms. Loutsch dates back to 2017 when we were both hired to work in Honduras at Escuela Internacional Sampedrana, which is an international school like ours. We became good friends because we were co-planning, like we’re doing for eighth grade now, and got to know each other through a bunch of different adventures that we went on. And yeah, I’m confident to call her my best friend!

Ms. Nagy and Ms. Loutsch visited Hahoe village together, seeing masked dancers and getting to know more about Korean culture. Photo courtesy of Ms. Nagy.

What is your favorite book as an English teacher?

That’s a good question. My favorite book changes frequently because I am always able to find enjoyable books. But currently, it’s Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. It’s a retelling of a Cinderella story, but it also brings in elements from Chinese culture and interweaves fantasy as well. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read, as an avid bookworm. I also thought the protagonist was very strong and I appreciate her journey as she goes on throughout the book. And, there’s a second book I’m currently working on reading, so that’s pretty exciting. But yeah, that’s why Spin the Dawn is my favorite book.

How do you get through writer’s block?

I try to look for inspiration around me. So if I’m stuck on writing about a story, for example, I’ll take a break and start writing about something that’s sitting in front of me, or look out the window and maybe switch gears by writing a poem. Usually, that helps me get into the mindset of writing and maybe take a new angle or perspective from what I was originally working on.

What do you picture yourself doing in 10 years?

I picture myself teaching English Language Arts like I’m doing right now. But I also imagine myself writing a novel and getting it published, maybe, or just writing it for my family. Also, I would like to dig into my family history more – to help the novel come along. 

Ms. Nagy and her friends completed an arduous hike in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of Ms. Nagy.

Do you believe aliens are real? Why or why not?

Yes, I believe that aliens are real because I think that the universe is a very big place since it never ends. I think that there are other lucky situations like ours that allow for life to exist, whether or not it is a cell, bacteria, or a plant. I guess I view aliens as something that’s not on Earth, so it could be something entirely different; it could be a whole different setup, something like Avatar, I’m not sure. But yeah, I do believe that aliens are real and they do exist. 

If you went back in time, what time period would you go to? Where and why?

If I went back in time, I think I’d love to visit Ancient Greece. I love philosophy, and I learned a lot from studying Socrates and Plato. Because I’m a woman, I’m sure I wouldn’t be allowed in the inner circle, but it would be cool to maybe try to sneak in and hear the debates in the socratic seminar. And to see the trial of Socrates, would be mind-blowing. I’ll try to save him, but I don’t know how that would work out for me.

What’s the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Back in first grade, I remember having to go to the bathroom really badly – for like the whole class period. I was raising my hand the whole time, trying to be a good student, but the teacher never came by me! So I ended up peeing my pants – and I was the class leader that day, so I had to go to the front of the line. Then I was sent to the office to change!

If you could direct a movie, what would it be about?

I think it would be about something historical – probably an event that’s not well known – with a female leader. And some action too; there’s this Irish Queen that was well known for taking over land and going through husbands as Henry VIII went through wives, and I don’t think a lot of people know about her, so I think it would be pretty cool to have a movie about that kind of leadership.  

From reading, exercising, and knowing nifty history facts, Ms. Nagy is sure to make a great English teacher. 

We are delighted to have you here at DIS.