Congrats to Cindy Arevalo, our May Teacher Spotlight honoree!
Cindy is a high school English teacher in Glen Burnie, MD and has been an outstanding member of our community. We wanted everyone to have a chance to know more about what got her to where she is today, the work she does, and what she’s passionate about – so we had Kristen Fraine, our Community Coordinator and fellow teacher, interview her to learn more.
Here’s a look at an interview we did with Cindy – and a question we have for you all to jump in on at the end:
- Kristen: Did you always want to be a teacher?
Cindy: “When I went to college I actually majored in Civil engineering because I wanted to be able to help communities in some way to make the world better…The deeper I got into the subject I realized that my true passion was actually wanting to work with people and thought that if I helped them they would want to help others and so on and so on and eventually the community would get better along the way. I figured the more people I help, the better the outcome, so I switched majors and began studying to be a teacher. That way I would be able to work with kids so they could learn that they can do more to better the world too.”
- Kristen: What makes you love teaching English?
Cindy: “I love books…But English isn’t all about reading. I like how you can really express yourself in an English class. There are so many ways to get to an answer and so many ways to share an opinion. Usually, there is no ‘Right’ answer. English really helps you learn how to articulate, learn how to argue, and learn how to express yourself.”
- Kristen: What’s one book that every student should read by the time they graduate?
Cindy: “The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Her memoir digs in deep how she grew up in poverty and I think a lot of students need to hear how others live. Some might even relate to it and I think it’s always nice to read a book that you can either relate to or learn something from. Plus it’s a true story so that sticks with them a little more.”
- Kristen: How would you describe yourself as a teacher in three words? Why?
“Kind: I always want the best for [my students.]
Strict: They need structure and in order to be able to create a learning environment you need to be.
Organized: I can’t think or do any work with clutter! Everything needs to be away in order for me to plan or grade or even teach.”
- Kristen: What’s an activity you do in your classroom that some teachers would find different or fun?
Cindy: “[I do a] reading jigsaw when there is not enough time to read in class and you want to finish a book. [To do this, you] divide the chapters, write summaries and everyone knows what happened.”
- Kristen: Have you reached a moment in teaching where you know that you’ve made a difference in a student’s life? How did that feel?
Cindy: “I don’t know how to measure if I have made a difference in their lives…I have seen when a student will finally do work who hasn’t all year…or if they used to get suspended and get into trouble and now they are in school getting good grades. But I don’t know if I can ever take the credit that I made a difference in their life. I can hope that they will make a difference in their own lives and use the skills they learn at school and they can make their own changes. What I do know for sure is that they make my life better.”
This interview made us curious to hear from all of you – what book do you think is a MUST read for all students at some point in their journey? Join the community to respond with your thoughts and advice.
Thank you, Cindy!