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New school year, new teacher

Fourth grade instructor no stranger to classroom

Posted: August 29, 2008 9:57 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Prit Chharba, a new teacher at Emblem Elementary, gives her class the thumbs up while studying language arts.

Most people get nervous on the first day of school. But Prit Chharbra felt well-prepared for her first day in a fourth-grade classroom at Emblem Elementary School in Saugus.

The 40-year-old Santa Clarita resident worked as a substitute teacher while earning her teaching credential, so while this is her first full-time teaching assignment, she is no stranger to the classroom.

"During my student teaching, I was actually there for the first day of school, so I basically got to see exactly what happens during the first few weeks of school," Chharbra said after a little more than a week of teaching. "So, I thought I would be nervous on my first day but I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be."

Chharbra became interested in pursuing a career in education after volunteering at her daughter's school, North Park Elementary School in Valencia. Volunteering eventually turned into substitute teaching, and soon Chharbra was taking education classes through California State University Bakersfield's program at College of the Canyons.

"The classes are at COC, and they fit in really well with your schedule even if you're working," Chharbra said. "So I was substituting and taking the classes at the same time."

Chharbra thought about a career in education while living in her native England, but in that country teachers must take a core curriculum in education to enroll in an education program.

But Chharbra had a law degree.

"(My husband and I) decided to stay in Santa Clarita permanently, so I started the Bakersfield program," she said.

Two years later, Chharbra is in charge of 28 fourth graders at Emblem. She said her training prepared her for the classroom and it helps that she has a great group of students.

"I have great kids in my class - all of them ready to learn - so that makes my job so much easier," she said. "And everyone has been so helpful. I was never worried about not knowing how to do something because there was always someone to ask."

Chharbra has already influenced two local students, her two daughters, who are excited about their mother's new career.

"They were really excited for me, especially the older one. She said I became a role model for her with my studying and substitute teaching and going to college," Chharbra said. "It motivated her to try harder at her studies."


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