Birthday Wishes

A couple of weeks ago, I was celebrating my birthday with my wife and son–Dora and Manuel. As we finished dinner and lit the candles on my birthday cake, both Dora and Manuel said, “Make a Wish” before blowing out the candles. I made a personal wish, which I will keep to myself, and two other wishes that I would like to share with readers.

My first wish:

As more districts are requiring that their teachers use real-time data to drive instruction I wish I had an unlimited supply of copy paper and ink cartridges. If I am looking at real-time data to drive my instruction, I need to be able to print my instructional materials in my class room at the moment it is needed and not worry about whether I should or should not print an assignment because I am low on paper and ink.

My second wish:

At the beginning of the school year I was faced with the same dilemma as Mike Lee, I was going to be on medical leave and I requested a long-term substitute for five weeks. Luckily Ms. B, as she is known around the district schools, who has worked as a substitute in our district for many years was available and accepted the assignment.

I prepped and left her one week of assignments thinking I could prep from home and send her the assignments using email. Unfortunately, due to my illness I could not sit at the computer and email Ms. B lesson plans. One day Ms. B called me at home to see how my recovery was going and I explained to her that I was having difficulties creating lesson plans. She responded by saying not to worry and that she would follow my year long lesson plans that were on my computer and that she would plan all of the lessons. I checked in on a weekly basis with Mrs. B and after five weeks I came back to my classroom and picked up where Ms. B had left off and she did such a wonderful job with my class that it seemed as if I never left.

With this said, I wish Mike Lee had access to Ms. B, so he would not have to worry about long-term substitutes or be afraid of babies.


Manuel Chavez

Manuel Chavez

San Manuel, AZ

My name is Manuel Michael Chavez Jr. My greatest contribution to education is being able to relate my 20 years of work experience to my students, which I obtained while working for Magma/BHP Copper, one of the largest underground copper mines in the world. My intentions had been to work for Magma Copper Company for the summer and return to school the following fall to pursue my dream of becoming an educator. Twenty years later, I was still employed with Magma Copper and had held various underground mining positions with the last position being a heavy equipment mechanic. In 1999, the mine announced complete closure and I had been forced and given a second opportunity to pursue my dream. What a bittersweet life-changing event in my life. I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree in education from NAU and have been teaching for the Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District in Southwest Arizona for nine years and am pursuing National Board Certification. In 2009, I was selected as an Ambassador for Excellence for the Arizona Educational Foundation and currently sit on the Board of Directors for Sun Life Family Health Care Clinics and the WestEd organization. It is my belief that by intertwining my classroom lessons with my own life experiences and providing my students real world life scenarios, students become engaged in the lessons and develop a desire to learn.

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