Teacher

Cherish Hughey
Cherish Hughey
Grade: Fourth Grade

1. How long have you been teaching? This is my sixth year here at Riverside Prep. I did subbing for about two years and I was a classroom aide for a little while, but as a classroom teacher I've been at Riverside Prep for six years. Fourth grade was the opening that was offered to me, but it's also what I was looking for, so it was just the perfect fit. I love the curriculum, teaching them how to multiply, divide, and learning about California missions and the gold rush, just all the California history stuff. 
2. What got you into teaching? I originally didn't want to be a teacher actually. I wanted to be an architect, but at the time the housing market crashed and there were no drafting jobs at all, so I was thinking and I was just always good at reteaching what the teachers had taught me and so I was like, 'You know what, I could be a teacher.' It just always naturally came being able to guide people and show them where the lessons go.
3. What do you love most about teaching at Riverside Prep? I really love the students. The students come here and they're excited to learn. We're a project-based school, so having those projects they're working on and exploring subjects and learning is really great.
4. What do you like most about teaching fourth graders? It's actually a big transition year. Kindergarten through second grade is all modeled, everything is modeled for them and they're learning how to read. Once they go from third grade to fourth grade, we get them to think independently. So we actually have a big shift from this is what you need to write down to this is what's going on, now you need to figure out what goes there. So getting them to be independent is our big push here, because once they go to fifth grade, they're preparing them for all the big stuff and going across the street. So it's really, instead of learning to read, I'm reading to learn. So it's a big shift there.
4. What's your favorite thing about teaching? One of my favorite things about teaching is inspiring students to read. I love to read and I really want my kids to experience the joy of reading. Many students that come to me read as a duty. They hate it or they've learned to avoid it. I love seeing a student get into a series and not want to put down a book when reading time is finished. I get to know my students and help them pick books that would interest them. I will even buy book series they like just to keep them reading. I once had a student who I was told hated to read at a lot lower level than anyone expected. After getting him books that he could read, the kid didn't stop reading. He read every book on my bookshelf at his level and we had to go to another teacher to borrow more. Another time I had a student who was a great reader, but the books I had didn't interest him. I bought several series he enjoyed and by the end of the year he had read 6 million words. Seeing my students grow and love to read has always been my greatest joy as a teacher.
5. What does it mean to be the Elementary School Teacher of the Month? Everybody tells that I'm very helpful, but to be recognized by admin that I'm doing my part to make sure everybody feels comfortable and part of the team here is definitely an honor. I don't like being recognized, I prefer to fly under the radar, but it is nice. When I see something that doesn't have somebody doing it, I try to step in and make sure that it gets done. And knowing that they appreciate what I do here is really awesome.

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