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Teaching with no regrets

Posted: September 5, 2008 9:39 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Christine Parr, a teacher at Placerita Junior High School, cheers as a student guesses an answer correctly in a game of Taboo, which she uses to teach the English language.

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Several students laughed as they played an English-learning game and whispered to each other in Spanish. Although she liked the interaction, teacher Christine Parr reminded them to keep speaking English.

After all, that's what she was teaching them.

Parr, The William S. Hart district's 2008 Teacher of the Year, started her career as an English teacher but when the opportunity to follow her true passion presented itself, she jumped at it.

She spent four years teaching English at Canyon High School before transferring to Placerita Junior High to work with students for whom English is a second language.

"I was teaching regular English at (Canyon), and I just didn't feel like I was getting much out of it, so I switched to teaching English language learners because you can see the progress with these students so much more," Parr said. "It was definitely more rewarding because of that."

Parr also teaches a new Strategic Reading exploratory class, aimed at helping students who score at or below Basic on their standardized tests in English/language arts.

"I work with the students who still have low STAR test scores - those who have not yet reached the Proficient level," she said.

As intervention coordinator, Parr organized and recruited teachers for intervention classes designed to help low-performing students. While teaching English at Canyon High, she also served as yearbook advisor, helping the program move to an all-digital publication with full color.

"Christine has been teaching for six years and has taken on many extra responsibilities in her time at Canyon High School and now at Placerita," said Rochelle Neal, assistant superintendent of human resources for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Parr received her bachelor's degree from the University of LaVerne and is earning her master's degree in educational counseling. A teacher Parr had in junior high who was patient and kind while maintaining high academic standards in the classroom became her role model.

"Once I started down this path, I found true joy in my life and never regretted my decision," Parr said.
"True success comes from helping others find their own joy. I come home each night satisfied that I am able to create a passion for learning within my students, making a difference in their lives each and every day."

The best thing about teaching is the opportunity to be around students, Parr said.

"I love my students," she said. "The things they say and the questions they ask - that's the best part of the job."

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