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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.

November

Debra Trejo and Forrest Brissey

Debra Trejo (left), Forrest Brissey (right)

Mentor: Debra Trejo

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been teaching special education for 20 years. I currently teach grades 9-12 at Pacific Career & Technology High School. I knew I wanted to be a special education teacher since I was 16. I love working with our older students. You can be honest in your conversations with them; they can see what the future holds and how the decisions they make will impact their future. This is my second year as a mentor. If it hadn’t been for the mentor I had as a new teacher, I probably wouldn’t have survived my first year. 
 
What do you like best about mentoring? Do you have a favorite mentoring moment?
 
What I like best about mentoring is meeting fresh faces in our profession. Everyone starting out wants to make a difference.They want to do the best and be the best they can so their students will be successful. My favorite mentoring moment has been meeting Forrest--what he brings, his joy, his sharing of his life with others. He’s determined to be the best he can be. That is what makes a difference because this is about the kids, not about us. We need to bend and change to where we work the way our students need us to work. I’ve seen Forrest do that in the short amount of time I’ve known him.

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

For me, it’s that I’m real. My students ask me questions. I’m a person too, not just a body that’s instructing them. The students I work with can see right through fake adults. They want us to be honest. And respect goes both ways. One of the things I tell my students is that I don’t care what the paperwork says about them, I don’t care what the other adults have said about them. I want to know who they are; I will make my own conclusion. Every day is a new day, every period is a new period, every minute is a new minute. When my students walk across the graduation stage, when many of the adults in their lives have told them they’ll never succeed or graduate, I know I had a part in helping them succeed. That’s what makes my job worthwhile.

New Teacher: Forrest Brissey

Tell us a bit about yourself.
 
My family recently relocated to Sacramento, and I’m excited to be a teacher in Twin Rivers. I was a behavioral therapist for 8 years working with individuals from Kindergarten to post-secondary/transition. When I decided I was ready to get more involved in education, I started substitute teaching. About a month in to subbing, a principal asked me to enroll in a credential program so I could teach. My favorite moments have been getting to know my students and engaging with them to create a positive learning experience so they want to come to school.

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

My classroom is a family. I tell my students to look at the person across the table. That person is part of their family. I tell my students they need to take care of each other. We have family rules. We’ve built a positive classroom environment where students are engaging with each other. They are socializing and becoming friends. They are watching out for each other.

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

I would like an administrative paperwork superpower. My strength is in working with students but my job also requires lots of organization of paperwork and meeting important deadlines. 

October

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.
 

September

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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