Teachers master their craft | NevadaAppeal.com

Teachers master their craft

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Living in Bolivia for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, Adam Williams understands what it’s like to be a stranger in a foreign land struggling to learn a new language.

Once he returned to the United States, he began to notice a stigma attached to Hispanic immigrants and didn’t like the inequity.

“I like to see a level playing field,” he said.

He decided the best way to level the field was through education. He will begin Tuesday as an English-as-a-second-language instructor at Carson High School.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said “It’s a new adventure and I’m curious to see how the Hispanic community and Anglo community interact and what kind of support there is.”

Williams, along with about 50 other new employees to the Carson City School District, met Wednesday and Thursday for teacher training.

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“This training is to let them know what Carson City is all about,” said professional development trainer Carol Harris. “Our focus is on effective instruction, techniques that are research-based.”

Wearing name tags and sitting at tables with markers, crayons and a basket full of candy, the teachers more resembled students.

But Mike Laxague, who plans to teach computers at the high school, said it is a role he is comfortable with.

“As a teacher, you’re a lifelong learner,” he said. “So you’re always a student.”

And being a teacher doesn’t make the first-day jitters any less real.

“It’s a little scary,” Laxague admitted.

Math teacher Veronica Perra said the training seminar helped ease her anxiety.

“It’s really helpful to be able to meet other teachers,” she said. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone.”

And each of the new hires were assigned to one of 25 teachers throughout the district who will serve as mentors.

Culinary arts teacher Penny Reynolds has served as a mentor since the program began six years ago.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “You get to see everything that’s going on through new eyes again — their enthusiasm keeps my teaching young, too.”