California Educator

April/May 2023

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Linda Gonzales wanted to be a teacher when she was a child, but instead spent more than two decades as a news editor at the Sacramento Bee. About six years ago, the news industry was going through changes and Gonzales says she was getting to the point in her career where she wanted to do something completely different. "A benefit of my job as a journalist was to read and learn every day," she says. " Teaching was kind of like working in a newsroom. I had a lot of good training to prepare me." The longtime news and online editor quit her job and went back to school to get her credential, teaching while taking classes for two years. She had a supportive grade- level team who took her under their wings and passed on as much knowledge as they could. Gonzales says she's really enjoying her new career. "Sometimes I feel like I'm making a difference and sometimes I don't," she says. "I tell my kids all the time that working with them is way more fun than working with adults. Hope- fully, I'm doing right by them." Gonzales says the heavy workload isn't for the faint of heart, but she says even in the sunset of her career that making a difference for students in her school community is worth all the effort. "I just have fun with it. I enjoy the kids and helping them grow socially," she says. When the COVID pandemic forced classrooms online, Gonzales' digital skills allowed her to transfer almost seamlessly. "And I was able to help my team. It was a nice opportu- nity for me," she says. With her previous career spent in management, Galt Teachers Association is Gonzales' first union — and she's proud to be a member. "My first year, I cast my first union vote. I remember thinking 'this is so awesome!'" she says. "I've come to recognize the immense amount of work that school site reps put in." Caleb Allen SCI ENCE TE ACH ER Redlands Teachers Association Coming from a family of teachers, it should come as no surprise that Caleb Allen ended up in a classroom. In his first year as a science teacher at the alternative high school he attended, Allen is trying to capture the excitement he had for science in school and con- vey it to his students, along with some other lessons he's learned along the way. "Getting through my class is one thing, but it's not everything," Allen says. "Being able to share my experience alongside biology is giving them skills to succeed outside my classroom." Prior to becoming an educator, Allen worked in a variety of jobs, including medical administration, in a cabinetry workshop and for a satellite television company before becoming a stay-at-home dad for six years. When his kids began entering school, Allen took the time to finish his teaching credential, know- ing that teaching would give him more time off when his kids were on break from school, allowing them to spend as much time together as possible. Allen says being a first-year teacher at 39 is "terri- fying," bursting into nervous laughter. All jokes aside, while certainly daunting at times, Allen says being able to help kids who need help is everything. "I'm enjoying what I'm doing. There's a lot of stress, but the benefits and rewards make it all worthwhile," Allen says. "I went to the alternative school, so I iden- tify with my students. Being able to show them there's more out there is good for my heart." A major priority for Allen this year is to support students who have been impacted by the COVID- 19 pandemic and reach kids who may have fallen through the cracks. "I think COVID did a number on everything," he says. A freshly joined member of Redlands Teachers Association, Allen has already attended his first CTA professional conference: New Educator Weekend, late last year, which he says was a valuable experience. "It was good to get a couple new ideas for the classroom and learn about retirement and self- care," Allen says. "I just have fun with it. I enjoy the kids and helping them grow socially." "Being able to show students there's more out there is good for my heart." Linda Gonzales SI X TH G R ADE TE ACH ER Galt Teachers Association 19 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 3

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