Teacher creates welcoming community

Tatyanna Shanklin, Editor-in Chief

Impacting the lives of the college bound is what AVID teacher Yvonne Molina does best, and this is why she is this month’s Teacher of the Month.

Molina graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with her bachelor’s in English.

As a child, Molina always stuck her nose inside a book. She enjoys reading anything from the classics to Sci-Fi, or science fiction.

Reading and writing is what drove her to major in English. The reason she loves reading and writing is because she believes “words are like a puzzle.”

Of seven children, Molina is the youngest and the only one who attended college. Her parents pushed her to go to college and she received assistance from her teachers. 

Before becoming a teacher at Arlington, Molina taught English at the middle school level in the Covina Valley Unified School District for eight years. 

Molina has been at Arlington for 20 years. When she first came to Arlington, she was an English teacher and she was the adviser of RAD, or Riverside Against Drugs and Friday Night Live.

Many of the students involved in RAD introduced AVID to Molina. Before meeting these students she had no idea about AVID. 

“…(The students) were the ones that drew me into AVID. And through those kids I met Scott Godwin (teacher). He was the [AVID coordinator] at the time,” said Molina

Later Godwin approached Molina about becoming an AVID teacher and Molina gladly accepted.

Molina explained that her drive of teaching came from her motherly compassion.

“When I had my first child and I returned back to teaching I saw my students differently. I realized that my daughter meant so much to me and I realized that every single kid in the classroom was someone’s treasure. And that was the most precious thing, that someone sent into my care,” said Molina.

Molina also went on to say that she enjoys joking around with her students, giving them advice and creating an environment in which they feel welcome. 

Some of Molina’s students believe that she is a great teacher that sets up her students for success.

¨She’s definitely more understanding than other teachers. Not only when you need time to turn in assignment, but also when you help. Even if she cannot help you herself she makes the best effort in finding the assistance you need,” said senior Sheylim Rodriguez Olea. 

  “The way she motivates us is by the stories, her lessons, how we can be and how we have so much potential in life,” said sophomore Victor Cervantes.

As a teacher Molina stands out because she creates bonds with her students that makes them feel like they are a part of a small community.

“She has created a welcoming environment for her students through the sense of community she has enlisted through the AVID program. Her ability to create this sense of belonging has allowed students like myself to share ideas in a supportive learning environment,” said Ramirez.

AVID and English Language Development teacher Theresa Mateljan and AVID and Spanish teacher Rocio Quijada believe that Molina is the backbone of AVID.

“(Molina) leads by example.  She creatively constructs WICOR lessons for her students that are relevant and rigorous.  AVID is a dynamic program that is constantly evolving.  She leads our AVID team by creating a collaborative environment where the contributions of all members are respected,” said Mateljan.

“She’s one of the unsung heroes of Arlington. We have one of the strongest AVID programs definitely, one of the highest A-G completion and college acceptance groups. And that has a lot to do with her leadership. The fact that no matter who comes in to teach in the AVID  program she welcomes them, provides them with all the help and all the possible support they could ask for,” said Quijada.

Aside from assisting her AVID students, Molina also helped non-AVID students with college apps and FAFSA

Currently, Molina is in the process of getting her masters in curriculum and instruction through online classes at Western Government University.

Since her eldest daughter recently graduated from the University of California, Riverside and her youngest is currently attending there Molina needed to find a school that was cost effective. 

Molina also said that the online classes make it easier on her schedule. 

Molina has definitely made a mark on our AVID community on campus.