Westridge Welcomes Anna Bondoc

Anna Bondoc (left) with her daughter and husband (Photo Credit: Anna Bondoc)

“I think you’re born with a certain amount of stuff, and I think it’s my job actually as a teacher and a parent to help kids figure out what that is.”

— Anna Bondoc

Writer, artist, mother, editor, and teacher Anna Bondoc joins Westridge this year as a new Upper School English teacher. With her bright smile and kind eyes, she spoke to me about her journey of finding her passions, starting from the very beginning.

Growing up as an Asian-American with immigrant parents, Bondoc struggled under the pressures of what her parents wanted her to be. “I grew up in a pretty traditional Asian household where I wasn’t really supposed to be an artist because my dad was a doctor and, you know, not to stereotype, but he was an immigrant, and there was definitely a push.”

“Antelope Canyon” (pale blue wavy) is an indigo pen and ink drawing. (Photo Credit and Description by Anna Bondoc )
















For Bondoc’s parents, their first priority was economic stability. As she talked about her background, her face lit up with joy as she gestured animatedly. “He was very much geared towards survival and was saying things like, ‘Are you going to survive?  Is it useful? What are you going to do with that?’ whereas for me, it was more about, ‘What do I love?  What do I enjoy? What am I passionate about?’ and I think that gap is one that immigrant children understand well. I would say it just took me a long time to understand that there’s no guarantees in anything.”

Bondoc felt a divide of experience with her parents, which many Asian-American kids like me can relate to: of wanting our parents to understand our own passions instead of obeying their expectations for us. “I think I had to find empathy for [my parents] because they had given up everything to come here to educate us and themselves, and [they thought] it was a better life, yet it’s so strange to explain to people that I didn’t grow up where my dad did. We grew up in very very different circumstances, and so he brought me to a country that he didn’t grow up in, so there’s this divide of experience.”

Bondoc discovered that she wanted to do what she loved instead of something that was considered a “stable job”. She knew from a young age that she was passionate about drawing and reading. 

“Erosion” (coffee brown swirly image) is an alcohol ink painting. (Photo Credit and Description by Anna Bondoc)
“Pattern in Flight” is from Ms. Bondoc’s paper cut series. (Photo Credit and Description by Anna Bondoc)
“It Goes Where it Wants to Go” (black and white) is a pen and ink drawing. (Photo Credit and Description by Anna Bondoc)

Ms. Bondoc is a primarily self-taught artist and did coursework at Otis College of Art and Design and Art Center College of Design. She opened up her own business, Anna Bondoc Designs, and from 2005-2010 sold her intricately layered paper cuts as fine art, stationery, and licensed patterns. She was a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Honors English Program and taught at the Archer School for Girls from 2001-2005. She took some time away from teaching and writing to find out what it would be like to be a fine artist, but she discovered that being an artist can become lonely. “I just started to feel like I needed to do something that was more connected to other humans and sort of 50/50 introvert-extrovert, so I love my alone time, but I just started to feel like I needed that connection to students and other lifelong learners,” expressed Bondoc.

She discovered that making art and teaching created a connection and a balance for her.  “Westridge encourages me to bring in my creative side [and] my interest in [the] visual side. It is a creative act to design a classroom.” 

Through her commitment to her own passions, Bondoc has found the true meaning and purpose in teaching doing what she loved—helping others find their own talent. “I think you’re born with a certain amount of stuff, and I think it’s my job actually as a teacher and a parent to help kids figure out what that is. That’s my own feeling.” 


 More of Anna’s work: Anna’s Fine Art Portfolio