Teachers can inspire students to be better students, as well as better people. Reno Youth Radio’s Maria Ballesteros reports on one teacher in Washoe County who is influencing her students both inside and outside the classroom.
Mrs. Raker teaches physics and statistics. Her lectures are exceptional. But outside the classroom she is exceptional, too. She is a strong advocate for community service. She volunteers constantly and takes her students along and she teaches at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology or AACT, a local Reno high school.
Living up to her name, Mrs. Raker is raking for Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. She brought her students along to clean up local parks. She told me how she became so involved in volunteering with students
“So one of the things I noticed when I first came to this school is that students didn't know how to do community service,” she says. “It's not something they had ever done before.”
Since then, with the help of Mrs. Raker and her students, the volunteering at AACT has picked up in pace significantly.
“Some of the things that we do would be participating in park clean ups with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, Christmas tree recycling, volunteering at the Food Bank, we’ve made hats to donate to the Give Hope Foundation, to the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation.”
“AACT is full of a lot of really great kids with giant hearts that really, really, really want make a positive impact on the community and they really enjoy doing so,” Mrs. Raker explains.
It’s clear that Mrs. Raker has a lot of good things to say about her students, but what are their experiences? My Reno Youth Radio colleague, Wyatt Daane, is one of them.
“She taught me how to crochet. It's actually not that hard. And for someone like me, I wouldn’t normally be crocheting but the amount of enthusiasm that Mrs. Raker has for this and how hard she tries to get the students involved with all types of community service activities is incredible,” Daane says, “so I decided you know what, I’m going to be a part of this, this is something I can do, and so I made a hat for a cancer patient.”
Daane says he found the experience very rewarding and Mrs Raker was a big influence. He goes on to say that she is a great teacher in the classroom, too.
“No matter what she's teaching, she makes sure to really give enthusiasm, and her voice is always up, she’s always telling you jokes, she’s always getting you involved. She finds a way to make some of the most boring things interesting.”
Mrs. Raker has done and continues to do a lot of good for the community and her students. Being a teacher is a full-and-half-time job as it is, and it’s motivating to see someone still take the time to care for the community and encourage others to do the same.