Karen Wong nominated her daughter's teacher, Lindsay Rivas, for Class Acts. Wong said she is very energetic and adapts her teaching to the skill level of each child. Rivas always has new and unique ideas for the classroom. This year, Rivas is teaching her class about money by paying them with fake money for jobs in the class and charging them for being off task. At the end of the week the students can spend their money in the "prize store." Rivas inspires children to do the best they can.
Name: Lindsay Rivas
Occupation: First-grade teacher at University Charter School
Family: My loving parents Art and Anne. They are a perfect inspiration of what a great family unit represents. They have helped me understand that a happy person is an aspiring person with goals, accomplishment, and sincerity of the heart. In addition, I have a shopping buddy, my sister Julie, who has helped me with life choices and striving to be the best at anything I put my mind to.
Background: Attended California State University, Stanislaus, for a bachelor's in liberal studies; multiple subject credential from Chapman University.
Teaching experience: Two years and I love every minute of it!
Why did you get into teaching? Teaching students the importance of lifelong learning is the icing on the cake in my profession. I love the funny things and ideas kids come up with; a child's personality is an amazing phenomenon. I always make it a goal for myself to gain an understanding of how my students approach any new lesson, concept or focus. This helps me "get into the first-grade box" so that I can teach with pizazz and excitement so the kids retain the knowledge by having fun. (This is what it is all about in first grade.)
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher? Coming into my classroom every day and becoming the rock star, mother, teacher, supermodel and highlight of each student's life on a daily basis. Most importantly, I am their starting point into their future of medicine, sports, teaching, business, or whatever they choose. I help mold them on the path to their future. That's amazing.
What is the most challenging part of your job? I think that all teachers can agree, working with every student to make sure their individual needs have been met on a daily basis is a constant work of art that needs to be fine-tuned throughout one's journey to educate.
Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: There are many. I would have to say I love our "Punctuation Rap." I have a bulletin board of this song up in my classroom to remind my children of punctuation when writing. They sing this every day before their DOL, which is daily oral language. This is when they correct grammar in sentences and explain their thinking.
Advice for new teachers: I am sort of a newbie myself. I didn't just fall into teaching, I knew right away that I wanted to be teaching. I would have to say, always be thankful for your students and your profession. When your down and out, know that you have 20 kiddos that think the world of you and wouldn't trade you for anything. Not even a bag of Skittles.
Advice for students: Be sweet, parakeets! Love your teacher and what they do for you. They work hard and devote their lives in long hours at school to figure out how learning can be exhilarating for your brains.
Advice for parents: Work with your child. Teach them responsibility and respect. If they understand what it takes to be a fine citizen in their community, school will be a time of stimulation and exploration to help them enter the enjoyable "real world" of life.
Future plans: I plan to obtain a resource credential in the near future. After teaching for 10 to 15 years, I would eventually like to work with children who need that extra driving force into success. I would love to help children become enthusiastic learners.
How do you to reach students not interested in school? I think of myself as an energetic and exciting person, very fun to be around and uplifting by nature. I try and emulate that to the children. In my two years of experience, students have been very eager and motivated in school. I think it is all in the attitude and hard work a teacher puts into everything they do in the classroom. When a teacher exudes mediocrity, her students will reflect that in life, learning, etc. If a teacher exudes greatness, there are no limits for any student.
What would surprise people about your job? You don't go home when your students do (after school, vacations, holiday school breaks, etc.). Time and passion are involved in being a devoted teacher. The job is never done; it's just finished for that particular night. You may sometime take work home with you, too. If you like to do crafty, adorable, seasonal, and cutesy, stuff like me.
What did you do on your summer vacation? I relaxed. Being a teacher is a great profession and I love it, but the rest is what rejuvenates any kind of success I may have in the classroom. The vacations and weekend getaways are a blast during this time.
COMPILED BY JILLIAN HANKS, BEE NEWSROOM ASSISTANT