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New Teacher Support

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Welcome to the New Teacher Support webpage
TRUSD Mentors....
  • Provide support, coaching and feedback
  • Facilitate learning and professional growth
  • Help establish a system of support
  • Encourage reflection
  • Learn with and from beginning teachers

Marigold Moments

Experienced gardeners utilize companion gardening to improve the growth of their plants. This means they plant certain vegetables and plants near each other. Marigolds are one of the best companion plants. They help vegetables grow big, strong, and healthy. 

Marigolds exist in Twin Rivers schools as well.

New Teacher Support is celebrating the Mentor Marigolds who support our newest Twin Rivers teachers in their first years of teaching. A Marigold Moment is a spotlight on a TR mentor and the new teacher he/she supports. We invite you to get to know some of the mentors and new teachers in our district.


New Teacher and Mentor
Samir Malik (left), Laureen Riddick (right)

Mentor: Laureen Riddick

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been teaching science at Smythe 7-8 for 3 years, and I’ve been in the district for 5 years. This is my second year as a mentor. I had a really challenging experience as a student. I struggled in math. It was challenging until I had a math teacher in middle school who really took the time to work with me, to connect with me. He worked with me after school so I understood the concepts. That drew me into education because I wanted to be that person to help students navigate through education.
What do you like best about mentoring? Do you have a favorite mentoring moment?
Malik is my favorite mentoring moment. He and I connected my first year of teaching. I was a brand new teacher at MLK and he subbed for my class. We developed a friendship. Malik let me know that my sub plans were so detailed and my classroom structured in such a way that it supported his success while subbing. That was such a boost to my confidence as a new teacher. So to be able to be his mentor now, five years later, and help support him through his first years of teaching, feels like I’m returning the favor.

How do you engage your students? And how does staying present in the moment support student engagement?

In science my students are all about hands-on activities. I engage them by building relationships with them. I get to know my students both inside and outside my classroom. I run a student Instagram account where we post photos of what we’re doing in class. Students can see sneak peeks of upcoming activities. They get very excited to see pics of activities they are involved in. I go see my students in their extracurricular activities, and I coach cheerleading so I can develop those connections. When things aren’t going well, you have to find your moments. You have to find a way to breathe through the tough parts and realize this too shall pass. My number one piece of advice is to learn to laugh with your students. Samir and I teach middle school. Middle schoolers are hilarious. When you find those moments to laugh, you will remember your WHY about education.

New Teacher: Samir Malik

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I teach 7th and 8th grade history at F.C. Joyce. Before I got into teaching I was pursuing a law degree. As I was sitting in class I kept thinking, “If I gotta work for 40 + hours, I can’t do it just sitting here writing.” I really missed working with kids. In high school I coached and tutored kids. I missed seeing those "aha" moments in kids' eyes. I was weak at math. It took a teacher in high school to help me succeed. You don’t get those moments as an attorney. To me, those "aha" moments are instant gratification. 
How do you engage your students? And how does staying present in the moment support student engagement?

I get to see every single 7th and 8th grader at this school. I get to develop relationships with each student here. I engage students by connecting on topics they care about, like anime. I don’t really watch anime but I try to go out of my way to check it out and then talk to my students about it. My students notice that I connect with them on topics they are into, and I hope that translates to them going out of their way to do some of the harder work they weren’t willing to do previously. That means the world to me. 

My favorite moment at Joyce so far has been my student’s commenting that my class seems to go by so fast. I think that’s the ultimate compliment. Not that “you're the best teacher” or “my favorite teacher” but that they enjoyed the lesson or the lesson was engaging them. I had a student come up to me and tell me he hated history but this year was the first year he was holding a B.

Going home, reflecting on my lesson plans, gets me more excited about the next year when I’ll do that lesson even better. I like doing a lot of 21st century skills, bringing in projects and group work. It makes me excited to teach another year.

I gotta bring the excitement level. I purposely placed my desk away from the front of the room. I constantly walk around. My students see me active around the room. As I walk the room, I work individually to scaffold the assignment. 

If you could have one teacher super-power, what would it be? How would this power make you a better advocate for your students?

My superpower would be to multiply myself. My English Learners would really benefit if there were four of me. They could get more concentrated help from me. Having multiple Maliks would be awesome because I would get to know my students even better.


NT Soares Mentor Herren

Nicole Soares (left), Janae Herren (right)

Mentor: Janae Herren

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I teach physical education at Grant HS. My passion has always been in sports and I was drawn to teaching because I enjoy working with kids. I’ve been a mentor for four years.
What do you like best about mentoring? Do you have a favorite mentoring moment?
The best part of mentoring is meeting the new teachers and building a relationship of support. I love watching my mentees grow. My favorite mentoring moment is during the observations when I see the things that my mentees have learned, watching things connect for that teacher.

How do you build community within your classroom/department? How does this impact your work with students/families/peers?

I build community in PE through team building. I make teams so students work together with different people. Team building activities help students learn how to work with different kinds of people. Our PE staff brings all classes together for warm up or cardio days so students have opportunities to work together with students from other classes. In my yoga class, I have a kindness focus this year. Students do partner poses and we talk about ways to show kindness to those you might only see in class. For example, smiling and saying "hi" to someone in the hallway. We talk about the impact that might have on another person.

New Teacher: Nicole Soares

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I teach physical education at Rio Linda High School. I’ve always been an athlete and participated in sports. What brought me to teaching was an AHA moment I had while helping my sister with math homework. I had a huge feeling of satisfaction when she understood it. I went into the military after high school and learned about how to be disciplined. My favorite new teacher moment is that everyday it’s fun. It’s hard, too. But I get to play. It has its hard moments, but if you step back and look at this job-it’s a great way to spend your work life.

How are you building community within your classroom? How has this impacted your work with students and families?

I build community through team building in PE. I make the teams so I can ensure a balance in athletic ability, gender, and to provide an opportunity to work with different students.

If you could have one teacher superpower, what would it be? How would this power make you a better advocate for your students?

My teacher superpower would be to read minds. Some kids are harder than others to understand. If I could read those particular students’ minds, I could help them, help guide them toward better choices. 

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