NAME CHANGER: Miss Ng sounds too much like ‘missing,’ so new math teacher has a solution
On the first day of school, Summer Ng wanted to be direct with her students.
Not about math or the challenges of solving word problems. But about her last name.
“I know my last name is ‘Ng,’ but don’t call me ‘Miss Ng’ because it’s going to sound like I’m ‘missing,’” the new math teacher recalled telling her Geometry and Algebra Foundations 2A students at the beginning of each period. “So to ease the confusion for all of us, call me by my middle name, ‘Miss Jade.’”
Ng said she decided to get this out of the way based on her previous experiences teaching at Mission High School in San Francisco.
“She was pretty direct about [her name], she gave us the option to call her Ms. Ng or Ms. Jade,” said sophomore Ethyn Crane, who’s in Ng’s first-period Geometry class.
Sophomore Alec Santillan, who’s in Ng’s third-period Geometry class, appreciates the option to decide what to call Ng and thinks it makes it easier for other students as well.
“It allows students to feel open to her and more comfortable calling her whatever choice they prefer,” Santillan said.
Ng said she graduated from Rowland High School in Rowland Heights in Los Angeles County in 2009 and later in 2017, she earned a bachelor’s degree in math and applied science from the University of California, San Diego.
She then received her master’s in education with a specialization in mathematics and her teaching credential from Stanford University in 2018.
Before applying for this job, Ng said she tutored through Zoom Stanford’s student math teachers in the education program and prepared them for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers. Despite Stanford being known as the West Coast of Ivy League schools, the Cardinal graduate was modest about her time there as a student and a tutor.
“I felt pretty normal,” Ng said. “I just want others to know Stanford’s students are like any other students.”
I just want others to know Stanford’s students are like any other students.
— math teacher Summer Ng
The instructor said she wanted to share her passion with others and encourage them that math is a very important subject in life that should not be taken for granted.
“I really wanted to see if I could make people hate math less and get people to understand that math is all around us everywhere in our everyday life,” she said.
After that experience as a tutor, she said she took an introduction to teaching course at Stanford through Zoom and applied to teach at the Fullerton Joint Union High School District [FJUHSD] in late May of 2021.
“I decided to teach here because it’s closer to home, and when I saw that Sunny Hills was hiring, I thought, I want to teach for that district because I’ve heard good things about it,” Ng said. “Now that I’m actually here, I’ve realized how much the teachers actually care, and it’s just amazing to see, so I know that I’ve chosen a good place.”
In between teaching Stanford’s students and applying to the FJUHSD, Ng said she taught at different schools throughout the state. In 2018, she taught Pre-calculus and Advanced Placement Calculus at Mission High School for one year; then she moved to Southern California, where she spent three years at Charter Oak High School in Covina teaching College Algebra, International Baccalaureate Math and Math 1.
Additionally, in the summer of 2019, she began teaching at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she continues to instruct Linear Algebra and Probability every summer.
Along with being a teacher at Sunny Hills, Ng is also the adviser of the March For Our Lives club, which focuses on the prevention of gun violence on school campuses.
“I mostly let the students take charge for themselves because I think that is an important skill that they learn, so I don’t do very much except give them space to practice what they believe in,” the new club adviser said.
The club’s president, sophomore Sloane O’Conner, said she chose Ng as the adviser because she created this organization this school year and wanted a new teacher to help run the group.
“She’s a really great adviser because she puts a bunch of trust in me and trusts that I’ll know how to do things and set up the TV; she’s just really sweet,” O’Conner said. “She always lets us use her classroom, lets us stay as long as we want, and then she’ll let me use it on the last notice.”
She’s a really great adviser because she puts a bunch of trust in me and trusts that I’ll know how to do things and set up the TV. She’s just really sweet.
— sophomore Sloane O’Conner
Outside of the classroom, Ng said she likes to go indoor and outdoor rock climbing, which she fell in love with in 2018 after her friend invited her to try it out.
“I like rock climbing because it is problem solving so I get to use my problem-solving skills to figure out what moves to do on a rock or on the climbing wall,” she said. “It’s fun – it’s like a puzzle but also a great workout.”
Principal Craig Weinrich said it is important for teachers to have variety in their experiences for students to receive the best learning opportunities, adding that the reason Ng was selected for the job was because she fits the ideal standard of a Sunny Hills teacher with her numerous qualifications.
“She does rock climbing, I know she does a lot of stuff in nature; she travels abroad in Abu Dhabi over the summer, and overall, she does a lot of fun things outside of class,” Weinreich said. “Just very friendly, outgoing and personable with a lot of good experience that would fit well with our math department, [and she’s] very knowledgeable as well.”
Students such as sophomore Leticia Neria said they were shocked by Ng’s warmth and hospitality right off the bat, which helped many ease their transition back into the school environment.
“I thought to myself that this year, I was going to have all bad and mean teachers, especially at the end of the day,” said Neria, who is in Ng’s sixth-period Algebra Foundations 2A class. “But I was wrong. Ms. Ng was the complete opposite.
“I think that she has already made a big impact on all of her students from the first day to the present.”
Fellow sophomore Allison Reyes agrees.
“I like that she’s a very helpful person, and she always tries her best to teach, and she always makes sure everyone understands the lesson before moving on,” said Reyes, who’s in Ng’s fourth-period Geometry class. “I think that’s what makes her different from other teachers.”
Ng said she looks forward to meeting and growing closer to all of her students and fellow staff members, hoping to make a lasting connection with those on campus.
“I do want [Sunny Hills] to be my forever school, so hopefully I do a good job, and they’ll hire me back next year,” she said.