This year we have many new staff members at Santa Barbara High school. After a year on Zoom, there are a plethora of teachers who just completed their student teaching programs. Now, this is their first year teaching a class of their own. These new staff members range from teachers transferring from different schools, to no longer student teachers, but student’s teachers.
One of our new teachers includes Mr. Martinez, who is currently a chemistry and AVID teacher. When Mr. Martinez was asked what it was like going from teaching on Zoom to in person, he responded with “It was hard to learn how to manage a classroom, because on Zoom no one talks so I didn’t have to deal with behavioral issues and students talking.” His favorite part about teaching is seeing students understand what they are learning. His first year teaching was last year through Zoom which was different from in person school. Mr. Martinez is not only new to SBHS, but also new to teaching as it’s his first year teaching in person. He took Chemical Engineering at UCSB but soon found his passion in pure Chemistry, which was a much more enjoyable path for him. He continued to attend as an undergrad at UCSB but didn’t want to work in the lab so he decided to take an education course. After getting a minor in Math and Science Education, he applied and was accepted to the Teacher Education Program at UCSB. This year he is looking forward to teaching a whole term of Chemistry, since he is also teaching AVID this semester. He enjoys teaching AVID because he feels he is making a difference by helping prepare students for college. Outside of school he likes gaming, watching shows and reading. One of the games he plays is Super Smash Bros and last time there was a ranking in Santa Barbara he got 2nd place. Mr. Martinez ended by saying “I am very happy and blessed to be here.”
Ms. Macias is a new English teacher here at SBHS. She graduated from college at UCSB and then moved back home to Riverside. She started working in schools, first as an after-school program leader which she didn’t like at first but grew to enjoy, and then she became a bilingual aide. After that, she switched to the attendance office at the same school, which made her realize how much she missed being in the classroom and helped her decide she wanted to be a teacher. She applied to three different schools and ended up going to the Teacher Education Program at UCSB. Last year she was a student teacher on Zoom and this is her first year teaching her own class. I asked her what her favorite part about teaching was, to which she responded, “I love connecting with my students and seeing that they trust me enough to be open in their writing.” Ms. Macias shared that her least favorite part about teaching is grading long essays. This year she is looking forward to making memories with her students. She hopes that by the end of this year her students can say they shared at least one good memory. Outside of school she enjoys going to the beach, watching Korean dramas and trying new restaurants with friends. She wants to let everyone know that even though she shares her classroom with another teacher, she is here for any students that need assistance.
Another one of our new teachers is Ms.Vasquez, a Latino Studies and World History teacher. She went to high school here at SBHS and was inspired to become a teacher by many teachers she had. When the school made Ethnic Studies a graduation requirement, she really became interested in being a teacher. She went to UCSC and got her undergraduate in Ethnic Studies. Last year she was a student-teacher on Zoom. She says she prefers in-person teaching because it is more fun to see everyone and talk in person. Ms.Vasquez shared that her favorite part about teaching is interacting with the students while her least favorite part is that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Ms. Vasquez wants everyone to know that she is very happy to be here and that her classroom is a safe space open to all.
Ms. Cardenas is our new Registrar this year. Before this she worked at the district offices and elementary schools but never worked at a high school. She thought that it would be different and a good change. Ms. Cardenas shared that her favorite part about her job is the interactions with students and parents while her least favorite part is organizing all the files. I asked what she is most looking forward to this year and she replied, “I’m excited for all the school events. I graduated from SBHS in 2010 and now everything is very different so I’m looking forward to seeing all the events like homecoming, prom and pep rallies.” Outside of school she likes to garden. Recently she just started growing her own vegetables. Because of COVID, she doesn’t go out as much, and instead she relaxes at home and watches Netflix.
Ms. Mendoza is a new Spanish teacher here at SBHS. She used to work at a tech company until one day a coffee machine broke, and people were complaining about it, which made her realize that working there is not what she wanted to do with her life. She has always loved the Spanish language, she is Mexican American, so it helps her connect with her roots as she loves traveling and learning about other cultures. She has also worked with kids programs in the past, and she thought that being a Spanish teacher combines all of that. Originally she taught mMiddle School, but her dream was to teach high schoolers, especially Santa Barbara High School. After asking why she likes teaching high school she responded, “High school is a really fun time in one’s life, they are getting ready to go on to the next step and being part of that journey is really exciting.” Her favorite part about teaching is her students, they make her smile every day. She loves connecting with the students and being able to talk about Spanish heritage and language. She is most looking forward to experiencing what it’s like to be a Don. This is her first time at a school that has homecoming and football games so she is super excited to see all the events.
We are happy to have all these new teachers and staff members at our school. They are a great addition to our campus. All of them are excited to be here at SBHS and to work with the students.