June 25, 2013

Teachers Talk Back: Loribeth Mau

Loribeth Mau is a National Board Certified teacher in her eighth year of teaching.  She currently teaches second grade Dual Language at the Alexander Science Center School. 

Loribeth is the grade level chair, and leads a variety of committees that focus on team-building, curriculum development, technology and physical education.  She started and leads the Marathon Kids program and Jump Rope for Heart and was a 2012 Teach Plus Policy Fellow.  Loribeth is a mentor teacher for BTSA, was a presenter at the California Science Teacher Association and won the Education Consortium of Central Los Angeles Teacher of the Year Award.

 What inspired you to become a teacher?

I was a student in Glendale Unified School District and I had great teachers.  My fifth grade teacher in particular inspired me.  She made learning fun, and while I was in her class, it dawned on me that teaching is exactly what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be with students every day making learning accessible and fun for them, just as my teacher did for me.

How do you build relationships with parents?

Parent-teacher conferences are actually my favorite time of year!  I love meeting with parents and showing them how their child has progressed.  I love celebrating their child’s strengths and coming together to find solutions to the challenges that their child faces.  Building meaningful relationships with parents is crucial to my success as a teacher.  With weekly updates, daily emails and texts, there is an open communication between me and the parents; we support each other as a team.

What are ways that you promote healthy habits for your students?

Physical education is vital in helping to develop healthy habits, and also an incredible opportunity to integrate curriculum in a fun and active way. I brought a program to our school called Marathon Kids.  Through the program, each student runs a full 26 miles over the course of the school year. I love when a student says, “There is no way that I can run 26 miles,” and then at the end of the school year, they are amazed by their accomplishment.  Marathon Kids builds confidence and discipline.

Since many of our students in the inner city battle obesity and don’t have the means to afford healthier options, I strongly believe that our physical education during the school day is integral to their health.  Studies have shown that kids who are healthy and exercise are happier and even do better in school.

What is the issue in education that you are most passionate about?

I am very passionate about meaningful teacher evaluations. Over the past nine years, my school has gone through over 75 teachers, and unfortunately we have lost incredible teachers as a result of the RIFs.  As we have the most important job in the world, serving our students, it is crucial that we have a meaningful evaluation system to ensure that high quality teachers are able to stay in the profession and develop.   

Why did you decide to become a member of E4E?

I agree with E4E’s principles and that teachers should be engaged in conversations that impact their profession and students.  I love the variety of options that E4E provides to get involved and be part of a solutions-oriented forum with other teachers.