Dr. Eunhee Buettner’s journey into academia began with her earliest memories of growing up in a small fishing village in Namhae, South Korea. Close-knit relationships between teachers and students influenced her views on education.
“Because the school was very small, teachers and students were very close together,” she says. “After school, we went swimming with the teacher, and sometimes we went to the teacher’s house and played games together.”
These cherished memories continue to shape Buettner’s teaching philosophy as an acting coordinator of the Tutoring Centre and an academic-writing instructor at the University of Winnipeg.
“I really value the relationship with the students and each student, no matter how many I have,” she says. “I try my best to get to know each student individually. It’s not just about teaching. It’s about sharing life stories together.”
Buettner’s journey toward becoming an educator started during her college years, when she pursued a degree in English research and linguistics. Her fascination with language and desire to share the beauty of English with others fueled her aspiration to become an English teacher.
“I wanted to teach English to those who were eager to learn,” she says.
In 2008, she moved to Winnipeg to pursue a PhD in Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL) education at the University of Manitoba. Buettner says her dedication to students, coupled with her own experiences as an international student, has molded her into an empathetic and compassionate educator.
“I hold a special place in my heart for immigrants and refugees, particularly the younger ones,” she says. “Their stories are deeply moving, and I am committed to supporting them in their educational journey.”
Beyond the classroom, Buettner finds solace in nature, often taking serene walks in Kings Park and at FortWhtye Alive. “Being around nature really brings a healing to me. It just makes me happy,” she says.
What was your favorite toy growing up?
“I grew up in a small town, so I didn’t have a toy when I was young, but when I was in Grade 5, I got a Barbie doll. I loved the doll so much I actually treated it like a human.”
What was your worst grade in school?
“Well, I was a little bit (of a) nerd actually, but my worst grade was a C-plus. That was really (my) first time and last time getting a C-plus.”
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
“I love gardening. In fact, this summer, I planted a sunflower seed, and it grew to almost 10 feet!”
What’s something people don’t know about you?
“I collect small rocks, and some people think that it’s weird, but no, I used to do that as well when I was back home. So I have a collection of pebbles and rocks.”
Published in Volume 78, Number 01 of The Uniter (September 7, 2023)