Yoshina-Nguyen inspires her students


Grace Won

Ms. Caitlyn Yoshina-Nguyen teaches English Language ARts and Latin 1, 2, 3 and 4 at Kalani High School.

Grace Won, Profile

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou.” 

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mrs. Caitlyn Yoshina-Nguyen has been teaching at Kalani High School since 2018. She teaches English 3 and Latin 1, 2, 3, and 4. She went to college and grad school in Washington and Massachusetts but is fond of teaching in her hometown.

Yoshina-Nguyen hasn’t always had a passion for teaching. She didn’t even know what she would major in until her sophomore year. 

“Things can feel rough,” Yoshina-Nguyen says. “Especially because it’s so different from when I was at school. I personally didn’t have many problems, and I’ve always enjoyed it.” 

As much as she loves and enjoys teaching, it’s never easy to satisfy and face all students, especially teaching a mandatory curriculum. 

“I think the hardest part of teaching is when you put in work on a lesson and your students don’t engage,” Yoshina-Nguyen explains. “Then, they blame you for the lesson being boring. I’m trying to get students to learn things, and that can’t always be fun.”

Even though teaching is mentally pressuring at times, the days that feel “worth it” make it a continued passion and joy.

“The thing I most enjoy about teaching is probably having fun with my students while they are learning,” Yoshina-Nguyen says. “The other day, my first period class was so great that my whole day felt great too. If every day was like that, everyone would want to become a teacher.” 

Melodie Wang (9) is a freshman currently enrolled in Latin 1. She explains that Mrs. Yoshina-Nguyen makes the class even more “worth it.”

 “I think the energy of our teacher is the most enjoyable,” Wang says. “It seems like she genuinely enjoys teaching the class, and I think that makes it a better environment for us as students to learn. It’s also nice to know when a teacher is really passionate about what they are teaching, and Mrs.Yoshina Nguyen seems exactly like that mentioned.”

Kira Ching (11) enjoys her teacher’s “positive energy.”

“I think if it wasn’t for Mrs. Yoshina-Nguyen, this class would be much more dull and boring,” Ching says. “I also really think that the enjoyment level of the class is heavily dependent on the teacher. If it’s a crappy teacher, the class won’t be any fun, no matter how much I love the subject.”

As much as Yoshina-Nguyen encourages students to do their best inside school, she advises the same for anything else, and that the “real world” adults talk about is now, that everything is already real, and that anything before college and adulthood is fake or nonexistent.

“Put in the effort to change whatever you want because you have the power to find something to give your life more meaning and purpose,” Yoshina-Nguyen says. “Nothing is undoable.”