California Educator

August / September 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 71

Miesha Harris Gash teaching at Kennedy High School in Richmond. Lunsford with Martin Torrefiel at Wilson Riles MIddle School in Roseville. 21 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 018 " To get students to care, you must first show that you care." — Theresa Lunsford, Center Unified Teachers Association Show them you care There is usually a lot of laughing in The- resa Lunsford's math classes at Wilson Riles Middle School in Roseville. Her willingness to engage students in fun and interesting projects earned her the title of 2017 Teacher of the Year for the Center Joint Unified School District. Her caring and compassion also helped her earn that honor. She conveys to students that she cares about them as people and will do whatever she can to help them succeed. " To get students to care, you must first show that you care," shares Lunsford, a member of the Center Uni- fied Teachers Association. If she suspects a student is having problems, she will take them aside and ask what she can do to help. If they are having trouble with housing, food or bullying, for example, she will try to find resources that can assist them. Academics are important, but so is showing empathy, she says. "Recently, I reached out to a student and learned that a close relative had died the week before. You never know what is going on in a student's life," she says. "Sometimes they are going through very tough times, and school is not the most important thing in their lives." Occasionally she asks students to put their problems aside for just an hour and focus, and they find a bit of success leads to more success. When students say math is their worst subject, she tells them they have a "clean slate" in her class and it doesn't matter how they performed in pre- vious math classes. "I would say 75 percent of my students come to class hating math, and when they leave, 80 percent say it's their favorite subject. If they don't do well, I offer extra help and let them retest after school. It is important to offer encouragement and cel- ebrate their successes. I remind students that no one learns at the same pace, but eventually they will get it."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - August / September 2018