Hello! My name is Eric Antuna, and I am 2nd grade teacher at Agua Caliente Elementary School within the Palm Spring Unifed School District in Cathedral City, California. Nearly 800 students attend Agua Caliente, with more than 90 percent on free or reduced lunch. About 68 percent of our student population are English language learners with Spanish as the most common primary language.
This is my fifth year of teaching. I earned my bachelor's degree and teaching credential from California State University, San Bernardino in Liberal Studies. I obtained my master's degree from National University with a certificate in Reading.
As a teacher, I find myself working toward one goal: choice. Students in my classroom are given the opportunity to make good choices daily, be it through reading, writing, math, recycling, or their plans for college. My students need to know that the best choice they can make is to learn how to read, write, and understand mathematics. If students learn to enjoy reading, their academic life will be so much more meaningful to them. It's important to point out that in my class it's not all about me. Oftentimes, students just want to be heard and I try to allow them the opportunity to speak, read, write, tell, share, show, explain, detail, or elaborate what is on their minds.
I strive to help my students understand that their choices affect themselves as well as other people. They learn this through our class discussions about kindness, responsibility, and respect, all the models of character that we come to value in society. If students see each other as obstacles, they will continue to work to defeat each other and in turn, do harm to each other and their community. When students learn to value and respect each other, they understand the importance of people and hopefully work towards creating a peaceful, loving community. I constantly look for ideas to allow students to express themselves, to understand their choices, and to value one another.