Until autumn 2017, when Robins Lead Teacher Grace Kim and her family relocated to the United States, she’d spent the previous nine years living in Asia where she met her (Korean) husband, Charles. Before returning to the US, Grace and Charles had been living in South Korea for about five years.
Though her background is not in teaching or education, she became an ESL teacher in Korea. Teaching in both the private and public sectors, she says, opened her eyes to the fierce academic world there. As a mother, she knew that she didn’t want her children growing up in such an academic-crazed culture. After Grace and Charles’ son Noah was born, she began to research homeschooling, which is how she came to learn about Rudolf Steiner. Grace then began her LifeWays training in South Korea that Spring, as the only non-Korean and the only foreigner in the group. In many ways, she felt a special bond with her lovely mentor and teacher, Youngsook Kim, who happened to be the only foreigner and the only Asian in her LifeWays training cohort years before. Though the bulk of the teaching and lessons would be in a foreign language she hadn’t yet come close to mastering, with her mentor’s encouragement and a deep desire to learn more about Rudolf Steiner and the LifeWays “way,” Grace took a deep breath and marched onward. She says she is so glad she did! Grace describes her LifeWays journey as a multifaceted blessing. Trying to understand the depths of Steiner and all that encompasses is a challenge in and of itself! Add to that, living in a foreign land (with very different ideas of community, celebration, of culture, of family, of education, etc.), piecing together bits of translated lectures, and figuring out how to combine two very different cultures to create her own family culture—was “steep mountain climbing, folks”, according to Grace! A self-described “fierce dreamer” Grace gave up her first career but was led to LifeWays. She says it has opened up a world she never even dreamed of.
Since moving back to the States, Grace feels the LifeWays journey, provided her with the most helpful “tools”: rhythm and the mantra “be worthy of imitation.” Grace says, “to be worthy of imitation, well it simply means that one must strive to be such—to be wholly present, , truthful, vulnerable and filled with love. It means we do our best to walk the talk. And, when we do fall short or mess up (because we will), we admit it…and then we give ourselves grace, love and self-care.”
Serendipity would play a role in bringing Grace, now a trained Lifeways of North America teacher, to The Children’s Garden. Upon her family’s decision to leave the Houston area and move to Atlanta where friends lived and family were in very close proximity, Grace began searching for early childhood programs in Atlanta that were Lifeways, Steiner-based or of a similar philosophy. After initial contact with Sally and a wonderful conversation, it seemed the timing wasn’t quite right given that the school didn’t need to hire a new teacher. But as luck would have it, things ended up coming together beautifully some months later when Grace’s availability and successful move to Atlanta with Charles and Noah came when unexpected news that one TCG teacher would have to retire following an accident and our beloved Ms Julia was expecting a baby! Shortly after interviewing with the preschool, Grace and Noah came for visits to the school and the rest is history! Grace’s exemplary level of commitment and care, her naturally lovely warmth and vast skills as a teacher/trained Lifeways Educator continue to be a tremendous and vital asset to the preschool. Grace and her family now reside in Inman Park, Atlanta. As of the 2019-2020 school year, she’s lead teaching in the Robins Class, assisted by Ms Vicki. And Noah is enjoying his second year as a member of the Owls Class.