California Educator

December 2014

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feedback Y O U R O P I N I O N S A N D L E T T E R S A R E W E L C O M E ! There is a 250-word limit, and all letters will be edited. If you send photos or other materials, identifications and permissions are required. Letters must include your name along with your address, daytime telephone number or email address. Email Hour of Code includes 'computer bug' I saw the article on Computer Science Education Week in the November California Educator. All teachers are on board for Hour of Code at Glenmoor Elementary School in Fremont. A motivated parent who is a com- puter engineer has recruited 19 other volunteers to work with students in the school computer lab over two days. This is a great school-business part- nership. The principal plans to dress up as a "computer bug" one of the Our instruction changes lives Something occurred recently that changed my impression of a relationship that I had with a stu- dent's parents. This particular student was prone to violence, hitting, punching, and disturbing children's play. In class, he was articulate, outspoken and occa- sionally defiant. One day he attempt- ed to slam the door on a couple of my first-graders' fingers. I quickly reacted and moved him out of the way, preventing injuries, and I took him to the office. That evening I received a phone call from the parent asking me about inci- dent. After the call, I felt the parents had disapproved of my interactions and our relationship was ruined. Fast-forward to 2014. On Election Day I was precinct-walking in my former school's neighborhood and came upon the student's mother. She shared that he had just start- ed his freshman year in college, he was interested in journalism, and he attributed his love for writing to me because I taught him to take writing seriously and fostered such a loving environment. I was stunned, as the perception I had carried with me all these years was that I had established a fractured relationship with this fami- ly and student. Later that evening, as I was poll-checking, in walks the father. He said that I was one of the best teachers his son ever had, and that the reason for his success was the strong foundation I had given him in first grade. The rewards in our profession are often not reaped immediately, but rather appear in subtle ways and miraculously surprise us. I know that we make a difference, but we don't always hear how our instruction changes the lives of our students. It is so nice to be told when this occurs. ANN KATZBURG President, San Ramon Valley Education Association Editor's Note: Read more stories shared by CTA members about their memorable students on page 15. days. Plans also include decorating the school computer lab. I am very proud of Glenmoor, the hard-working teachers and staff, the supportive parent community, and the reason the adults care so much, the amazing students! JOHNNA LAIRD Fremont Unified District Teachers Association Fires all over What a surprise to receive my Educator with a picture of the Courtney Fire burning on the shores of Bass Lake. Our cabin is at the top of the ridge above the lake and narrowly es- caped the inferno with minor damage. Thirty homes and cabins burned down in our neighborhood, displacing families with children attending schools in the Bass Lake Joint Unified School District and Yosemite Unified School District. ALIDA IMBRECHT Sacramento (retired) Editor's Note: Families were impacted statewide by wildfires between May and September. The November cover photo, taken at Bass Lake by Darvin Atkeson, showed the magnitude of the fires. There are several fundraising efforts for those who lost homes. The photo above (courtesy of Sierra Star) shows Oak Creek Intermediate stu- dents and faculty who raised $1,500 for student Dakota Klaproth (third from left). An Oakhurst Area Fire Relief account has been set up at Yosemite Bank to raise funds for those involved in the Junction and Courtney fires. Other ways to donate: Visit the disas- ter relief page at or email for the CTA Disaster Relief Fund. Correction Sen. Ricardo Lara's first name was inadvertently misspelled in a profile in the October Educator. We regret the error. 3 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 5

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