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Helping students believe in themselves

Following is the fourth installment in The Union’s series highlighting candidates for Nevada County’s teacher of the year and featuring excerpts from their applications.

Gale Peach

Learning Center Teacher



Pleasant Ridge Elementary School

I have been asked what it’s like to be a student in the class I teach. To answer this, I asked some of my students. What follows are some of their responses:




“When I walk into Mrs. Peach’s room, I want to get to work.”

“It’s sometimes boring, but it’s mostly fun. You can get help a lot.”

“I know that there’s going to be a lot of work, and there is always some homework. Ms. Peach always encourages us.”

“It’s fun learning. We do brain gym. I learn how to fix problems. I’m in control of my behavior.”

My responsibilities include assessing and diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of students. The testing times can be quite interesting. On one occasion, I had a bright-eyed little guy who began tracing the veins in my hand and stated that it looked like I had “gophers running around in there.” There’s never a dull moment! Now, I work with some very talented, capable and creative young people, but for whatever reason, the school setting is often difficult for them. … The success of my students requires a team effort. I strive to maintain close contact with my students’ teachers and with their parents.

It is wonderful when students begin to believe in themselves! I had a student come in this year who was not yet writing complete sentences and was not reading independently. He was a bright and capable student who had, for a variety of reasons, learned not to hold himself accountable for his own learning. Working with him throughout the year, we helped him to develop his skills, pushed him to perform and held him accountable for his work. When the time came for state testing in the spring, he was in a panic, saying he’d only had to do the math in the past. We convinced him to try the entire test with accommodations and modifications. … His attitude was certainly a triumph. He did his own reading throughout the tests and felt like he had conquered “the beast.”

I cannot imagine another career more rewarding than teaching!


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