Jamie Myers nominated Karyn Garcia for Class Acts. Myers said Garcia is a dedicated teacher who takes time each day to make all of her students, as well as the parents, feel special. She goes above and beyond any expectations.
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Occupation: Second-grade teacher at Orchard Elementary School
Family: Husband, Dave; Stepson, Adrian, 19; son, David, 9; daughter, Kendall, 7
Background: I grew up in the Bay Area, went to college in Davis, met my husband here and stayed ever since.
Teaching experience: I have taught for 14 years in public schools and in county/juvenile hall classrooms.
Why did you get into teaching? As a child, I never felt like my voice mattered. I grew up in an era where a child was seen and not heard. I want children to know how valued they are and how much they are cared for.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? Teaching is locking the door at the end of the day only to find a secret letter, mysteriously written by one of my students, taped to the door handle. Children love their teachers and give you that wonderful feedback in the most precious ways.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The assessments and paperwork is grueling but are very crucial to our job. Many think we are done at 3 p.m., but the paperwork and assessments go on forever.
Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: I love to incorporate music and poetry into the classroom. We sing all the time and dance, too. The kids love the "High School Musical" CD and we use it to transition and get up out of our seats.
What's next in your classroom? Our parents will be invited to the class for a special night of poetry reading. The children have been memorizing poems all year and will be surprising their parents with an appreciation night.
Advice for new teachers: Treat each child as if they were your own. Never assume they have been loved enough.
Advice for students: Don't be afraid to be wrong. It is in those moments that true wisdom shows. Only the strongest children make the most mistakes.
Advice for parents: Please read to your children as often as possible. They are never too old to share a great story. Reading together builds strong families and bonds that last a lifetime.
Future plans: I know I will still be teaching and possibly working on my master's or administrative credential. I think it is important to stay fresh and challenged, too.
How do you to reach students not interested in school? I call them at home a lot and show up to a game or two. When they truly believe that I care about their success, they feel heard and want to do well. The classroom is where the connection begins, but I believe teachers can help bridge the gap between a child's home environment and school, as well.