First year teacher at Captain Gray STEM elementary prepares for the year

First year teacher at Captain Gray STEM elementary prepares for the year

Maria Lara still remembers her first day of kindergarten at Ruth Livingston Elementary School in Pasco. She only spoke Spanish and no English.

However, after taking an English development class at her school, Lara eventually became bilingual, but she says she definitely struggled on the way there.

Lara ended up graduating from Pasco High. She knew she wanted to be a teacher after working as a student achievement specialist at Chiawana High for several years. That led her to attend CBC and Heritage University where she graduated with a teaching degree with an emphasis on English development.

“I wanted to work with students who struggle,” Lara said. “Because I know I struggled a little in school too.”

This year, Lara will kickstart her teaching career at Captain Gray STEM Elementary School in Pasco. She will be the 6th grade English Development teacher.

Principal Armando Castrellon said Lara will have about 17 students from various places like Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador, Cuba and more.

“You can sense her genuine feel to want to teach our kids,” Castrellon said.

Lara said she’s been preparing for her students all summer and she’s excited for the year to start. She said the most important thing is for her students to know her classroom is a safe space.

“I want them to feel at home,” Lara said. “To feel welcomed, to know I’m here for them.”