Edessa Youhana nominated Chris Malekos-Quick for Class Acts. Youhana said Malekos-Quick has inspired a love of learning in her son. She has new and exciting ideas that keep the interest of her students and she genuinely cares about them. Malekos-Quick is focused on making a difference and devotes many hours after school to teach students.
Name: Christine Malekos-Quick
Occupation: Sixth-grade GATE (gifted and talented education) teacher at Lakewood Elementary
Family: Husband, Bob, and daughter, Eleni
Background: Born and raised in Modesto, graduated from UCLA with a major in history; teaching credential, masters in education and reading specialist credential from UCLA. I was fortunate to have education icon, Madeline Hunter, as a professor and adviser.
Teaching experience: Taught third and sixth grades for nine years in the Los Angeles Unified School District and sixth-grade GATE for 18 years at Lakewood.
Why did you get into teaching? My parents, Louis and Helen Malekos, were strong advocates of education and the teaching profession, and they encouraged me to pursue a career as a teacher. I am grateful for the support they gave me and am glad that I listened to them. I absolutely love the children, and of course, love teaching them. I consider it an honor to teach children.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? When the kids get excited about what they are learning and then come back later with additional information or books they have researched to share with the class.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Wanting to accomplish so much and finding the time to fit it all in.
Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: Learning should be fun for kids. I believe that having a sense of humor and having laughter in the classroom are important, especially with the intensity of testing.
What's next in your classroom? We are studying ancient civilizations, and the kids are extremely excited and busy. They are adorable — such hard workers. After studying and researching in groups, the kids dress up as ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and make presentations to the class.
Advice for new teachers: Look to your colleagues for support, guidance and ideas. They are great resources and have a wealth of information to share. You can then adapt ideas to meet your curriculum needs. I am fortunate to work with an exceptionally intelligent, creative, and caring group of teachers. They are outstanding in every way.
Advice for students: Have respect for your parents, teachers and yourself. Set goals for yourself, stay focused on achieving your goals, and have fun along the way.
Advice for parents: I have had many amazing parents whose love and devotion for and commitment to their children are evident in all they do. They have definite expectations of and consequences for their kids in terms of their behavior and work, and they hold them accountable.
Future plans: I plan to continue to enjoy teaching.
How do you to reach students not interested in school? I hope I create sincere relationships with all my students and have meaningful one-on-one personal contact with them every day. Also, by providing them with social situations and learning activities that place them with other motivated, engaged, involved students can be effective. After all, enthusiasm is contagious.
What would surprise people about your job? Without a doubt, people would be surprised at the amount of time teachers spend after school hours, on weekends, and in the summer preparing, planning and creating lessons.
What did you do on your summer vacation? Last summer we went to Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks in Utah and Arizona. We did not venture out of town for too long because my father-in-law was ill. This summer, we're off to upstate New York.