Yeong accepts award

Teacher of the year honored

Community college Teacher of the Year Michael Yeong.
Cathie Lawrence
Community college Teacher of the Year Michael Yeong.

Friends, students, family and colleagues watched as Los Medanos College English Professor Michael Yeong, was honored along with 21 others at the annual Teacher of the Year ceremony at the Concord Hilton Sept. 24

The room was filled to capacity as many came to witness the acknowledgement of Contra Costa County’s finest educators.

“This event is to honor all of our caring, and wonderful teachers in our district —it is one of the best in our state. This shows how our teachers go above and beyond,” said County Superintendent of Schools Karen Sakata.

The banquet hall was filled with aromas from the dimmed lights and tables, which were decorated with bright colored porcelain books from the event’s sponsors. The event opened up with a performance as 40 students from the Alamo Elementary school choir in San Ramon Valley School district singing up-tempo songs.

Laughter could be heard throughout the room as guests ate their appetizers and watched humorous clips about how sports drafts would look if it were teachers instead of athletes.

Fellow LMC teachers nominated Yeong for teacher of the year as he has shown a vast amount of consideration for his students.

“I have the pleasure of having my office near his, so I see the way that he talks with students, and how they come and seek him out,” said English Department Chair JoAnn Hobbs. “He really spends time with them and that is something that I really appreciate. He takes that time — he goes beyond the classroom.”

Yeong grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where he attended school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Always being intrigued with words and how influential they were on a person, Yeong knew he would be a teacher.
He attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY for his bachelor’s degree, then went to Antioch University for his masters in Education.

Professor Yeong has been teaching at the Pittsburg and Brentwood campus for 24 years and the dedication he has shown to his students has been noted. Not only does he seem to inspire to his students, he also influences his colleagues. Being an English teacher and coordinating the Puente program on campus, as well as teaching in the Umoja scholars program, are some of the reasons Yeong’s colleagues’ think he is dedicated.

“Mr Yeong has brought a wealth of new ideas and energy into our department,” said English professor T.D. Caldwell. “He is professional and leads by example.”

As the 21 honorees lined up to receive their plaques and goodie bags, Sakata, shared a memory she had when she entered Yeong’s class and saw him interacting with students.

“The students were participating in a lesson in gender where they were motivated students participated in small groups. Yeong asked students to flip it and pretend they were students of the opposite gender,” said Sakata.

The room was silent as Sakata painted a picture for the audience.

“We are shown a lot of different perspectives. Mr. Yeong’s class has helped us change the way we view things — change the way we looked at the world.”