September 18, 2017
Every month in our UCCI newsletter, we feature one of the extraordinary educators we have worked with at the UCCI Institutes and in the UCCI Teacher Exchange. We started this feature so that we could have a way of publicly showcasing how creative, innovative, and smart California teachers are. We archive every issue of the Teacher Spotlight here, on the UCCI website, at our Teacher Spotlight page.
This month the spotlight is on Marisol Thayre, English Teacher at Health Sciences High and Middle College.
In your own words: What do you do, and why?
I see myself as a coach of sorts in that I encourage my students to set goals and assist them in achieving the goals they set out for themselves. My hope is that students feel a sense of ownership in their learning, and I am there to use my skills and education to help them get there.
What was your background prior to your current role, and how did you decide to become a teacher?
I grew up surrounded by teachers (both of my parents are educators), so school was a major driving force in all areas of my life. I’ve always been involved in education in one way or another. Before I started teaching at Health Sciences High and Middle College, I taught composition classes at universities and community colleges.
Had you taught integrated curriculum before teaching the UCCI Courses: Advanced English and Public Health and Reading and Writing Your Way to a Healthier World: Advanced English and Public Health? If not, what led to you to teach these courses?
Prior to using the Advanced English and Public Health course at my site, I had minimal experience with integrated curriculum. I participated in a UCCI Institute 4 years ago as a course developer, and helped develop the “Mental Health Matters” (this course is now titled: "English 9 in the Context of Mental and Behavioral Health") curriculum, which led me to the vast list of courses available on the UCCI site.
How did you prepare for teaching these courses?
Since I had insight into how these courses are developed through my experience as a UCCI contributor, I knew that becoming familiar with the reading lists and resources would be a good place to start; this enabled me to judge what I would be able to use best based on my site’s resources. Then, I adapted the unit assessments to my school calendar and planned for my classes and their specific needs.
What challenges does the curriculum for these courses present, and what successes have you found in teaching these courses?
My class meets less days and for longer time periods than a traditional one, so I need to adapt timelines and readings often in order to make sure we are still accessing the main themes in the course.
What are your top three resources (online or otherwise) that you have found most useful in teaching English?
I am a HUGE Google suite user; other than that, I love Scientific American for articles that are interesting and interdisciplinary. My number-one resource, however, are my colleagues. They have such a wealth of knowledge, they are often the place I find the answer to most of my needs and questions.
When you are not teaching (or prepping for teaching, or assessing student work…), what activities do you enjoy?
I love hiking, running, cooking, and reading--of course!