If you asked her 20 years ago, the little girl who attended JC Crumpton Elementary, advanced to Los Arboles Middle School, and graduated from Seaside High School would not be teaching at Marina High School today. Instead, she was on her way to Equador this past summer, when a pit stop to see family drew her to put down roots and seek a teaching position. "The idea of living and working here in Marina is appealing. I was pulled to work in this community," Valine Moreno proudly states.
And, the young scholars enrolled in her Spanish 1 and 2 courses will be forever changed by her teaching. As a first year teacher at Marina High, her energy is unsurpassed and can be felt before you enter the classroom door. She opens each class with a Mayan poem - In Lak'ech Ala K'in - to empower her students and to teach them about respect. "A mentor once told me that I may be the only adult for these students and it is my job to show love and respect," she unequivocally states. "Every day I leave all my personal issues at the door. When I was a student I wanted to be inspired, so when I walk through the door I want to be 100 percent there for my students."
Even more amazing is Valine's ability to see her students as creative individuals who want to learn and impart an incredible experience on them. "I don't see students as society sees them. I see them as who they can be and I apply what we are learning in Spanish to real world experience."
Her teaching philosophy comes from many mentors who have influenced her life, and she encourages her students to seek mentors to help them along the way. "Find an adult who gets you, and you get them," she tells them. She credits having great mentors to become a better teacher.
Valine embraces the MPUSD value we're better together. In thinking about the purpose of schools, "we need to work together as a team. Change is possible in a school and classroom when people have relationships. Having a support system is crucial. On great days you can share about the most amazing lesson you just did and even on the worst days they are there to support you," she says.
"As a team of teachers, we are better together is most important to me!"
(Pictured right: Valine proudly shows off her family!)