California Educator

November / December 2016

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feedback GIFTED TEACHERS Responses to our query: What was the best gift you received from a student, and why? One of my music students landed a role in Les Mis on Broadway in New York. He and his mother invited my daughter and me to stay with them in their theater district apartment and gave us great seats and a tour backstage. We even bumped into celebs during dinner at a theater restaurant. As a music teacher who faced getting my program and position cut throughout my career, this was one of the best gifts I have received from a student because it validated the importance of music education in our public schools and in our lives. CATHY CR AWFORD Retired The best present I ever received from a student was a key holder featuring a resin-covered scorpion! When I taught elementary stu- dents, our classroom featured collections of realia such as seashells, rocks/minerals, birds' nests, an ostrich egg, and an insect collection. My student's mother apologized for the odd gift. They had visited relatives in Mexico, and her daughter had insisted that I would love it. She was right! It hangs in my laundry room. I still remember her eyes shining when I opened the treasure and thanked her! KATH WALKER Riverside County Office Teachers Association The best gift I ever received from a student was from a second- grade boy. It was a box, wrapped by him, that contained, among other paraphernalia, a tiny school photo of him that year as well as a first-grade picture, and a small "well-done" steak sign. His present reminded me of that of the Littlest Angel in the movie of the same name. I cherished it because it was completely from him and not his parents. JAN PRICE Retired I've gotten some sweet gifts from students over the years: a giant bar of chocolate, an evil eye necklace, a burned Arcade Fire CD with handwritten lyrics, a knitted scarf, even an abalone shell mobile. But by far the best gifts are the thank-you notes and emails from grateful students, sometimes months or even years later. Someone writes that he "came away from class thinking in new ways" or that she "discovered her voice as a writer." These small validations remind me that teaching is sacred. The seeds I planted are taking root and flowering. JESSICA DUR TAYLOR California Faculty Association, Sonoma State University Y O U R O P I N I O N S A R E W E L C O M E ! We accept email and letters (250-word limit); we excerpt user posts from CTA social media platforms. Content subject to editing for clarity and space. Photos must have identifications and permissions.; #WeAreCTA C O N T E S T See Me After School Show us what you do after the last bell rings and you could win a $50 gift card for school supplies. Last year 's entrants included an aerial gymnast, beekeepers, and an advocate for breast cancer patients (see more above). Send up to three photos of you in action to, with "See Me After School" in the subject line. Include your full name, chapter, and photo descriptions. Enter by Jan. 31, 2017. Winners will be judged on creativity, photography and interest. We Have a Winner! Donald Rotella, a Fresno Teachers Association member and deaf/ hard-of-hearing specialist for Fresno Unified School District , is the lucky winner of an iPad Pro. His name was drawn randomly from among those who responded to our recent reader survey. Thanks to all who participated in our survey. Your responses are greatly appreciated and will be taken into consideration as we continue to improve your experience with the Educator. Above, Stephanie Burcombe, Fullerton Elementary Teachers Association, in one of her educational musical videos; Lisa Elliott, Ontario-Montclair Teachers Association, loves to cook; Pat Olson, Cabrillo Unified Teachers Association, moonlights as a sports announcer. 3 November / December 2016

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