ASU education grad takes teacher role to heart


December 10, 2015

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of student profiles that are part of our December 2015 commencement coverage.

Carolina Moreno takes her role in the lives of students very seriously. ASU grad Carolina Moreno Carolina Moreno graduates this December with an undergraduate secondary education degree in Spanish from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Download Full Image

“As a teacher, you really can be the whole world to someone,” said Moreno, who graduates in December with an undergraduate secondary education degree in Spanish from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Some days, some people feel like they want to cry. It’s frustrating. And yet it is so very rewarding and you go forward, knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

Moreno grew up in Mexico and she had some very influential teachers there — people who helped her realize the important role teachers play in the lives of different students. To some students, a teacher becomes a role model. To others, a teacher is an advocate — the person they most trust with delicate questions or issues. 

“I had many very good teachers when I was growing up, but I remember two in particular who were helpful and who influenced me in my decision to become a teacher. My high school psychology teacher was that person who, if students had trouble with anything, they would go to her. She would help kids with any problems. She was a good teacher and listener.

“My world history teacher connected well with students, and he really made us want to learn more. I knew that I wanted to be that kind of teacher. He actually visited ASU and spoke here as our guest when I was a student ambassador for the college. He is the kind of person who makes people want to learn more and to do their best.”

What’s most important?

“Definitely connecting with students is the most important aspect to teaching. ... Getting to know them, and being passionate about teaching, not just about your subject. Letting students know that you care and helping them to become lifelong learners. Those are very important parts of a teacher’s role.

“Sometimes you, the teacher, are the only person a student can come to with something. They trust you. There was one student who was in danger of failing. He came to a teacher, and that teacher really made a difference.” Moreno says the fact that a teacher really can be “the whole world” to a student and truly make a difference is what is most important.

Moreno started college at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree. When she transferred to ASU, she needed additional Spanish pre-requisites and then was able to attend Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She has worked with both middle and high school students in the Tempe School District while attending ASU and enjoys both very much. Moreno looks forward to securing a teaching position after graduation and hopes to eventually become a department chair and also earn a master’s degree.

“I am interested in eventually being a school counselor,” she said, but emphasized that she wants to continue her own education and feels as excited about learning as she hopes her students are about learning new material.

“Recently we were putting together a childhood unit, and I found an old picture of me playing with my brother and cousin as a child … playing school. I was the teacher. I always wanted to help others … and to be a guide and help people understand things. That is what I get to do every day as a teacher.”

Written by Jennifer P. Mitchell, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Family inspires ASU grad to earn teaching degree


December 10, 2015

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of student profiles that are part of our December 2015 commencement coverage.

ASU graduate student Jasleen Rooprai's first teacher is the one who most inspired her to become a teacher herself: her mother.  ASU grad Jasleen Rooprai Jasleen Rooprai will graduate in December with a master’s degree in secondary education and a teacher’s certificate from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Download Full Image

Her mother taught middle-school science in India and Rooprai attended school there until the 12th grade.

“It was difficult to come here as a senior in high school … but my mother was already here … she had moved to the U.S. first, and I was glad to join her. The teachers and everyone at the school made it easier for me by encouraging me and helping me.” 

It was that kind of support that helped finalize Rooprai's decision to study education.

“My mom and my grandma, well, my adoptive grandma, went to ASU and so I knew I wanted to come to ASU and study, too. I heard good things about the program and knew it was the only choice for me,” she said.

Rooprai graduated from Arizona State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and will graduate in December with a master’s degree in secondary education and a teacher’s certificate from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

“People were kind to me when I came here … I had to adjust to a new learning style and teaching methods as a senior in high school … that’s why in my classroom, I always teach students to respect one another and to appreciate one another.”

Rooprai said that being respected and appreciated when she was new to this country helped her gain confidence and work hard to reach her goals.

What’s most important?

“What’s most important for me is getting my students to learn — not just the material, but also learning to be good citizens. Whenever there are issues or difficulties, I help them to have a class discussion about it so we can see what could be better and how we can do our best. When students show respect for others, most problems or difficulties can be avoided.

“My students do a lot of teamwork. When they work in groups, they see each other’s differences more, and they must overcome those situations. I tell them that throughout their lives they will work in teams. In their careers they will work in teams, and they must develop skills for this. Being respectful of others is one of the most important things anyone can learn.”

Rooprais’s specific teaching tactics in the classroom always include an exploration. She prefers using hands-on activities and stimulating many discussions among students. 

“I love using simulations of any kind to get everybody involved in the lesson and to be talking about anything new we learn. We play Pictionary or Jeopardy games with new material. Science can be very difficult because of all the vocabulary words. Students must have good reading skills and be able to grasp new vocabulary quickly to succeed in science.

“I never want anyone to stop studying or being interested in science because it is too hard. Sometimes when students think something is too hard, it is only because they need to develop several skills at once and apply reading, math and other skills together. By using these varied approaches and exploration in the classroom and having them do a variety of activities, each student becomes involved at some point, and they all can learn,” Rooprai said.

She is now a student teacher in a middle school science classroom and she says her primary goal is “to be an excellent teacher,” and she hopes to one day become an administrator or a college professor. 

“I just hope to keep learning and improving … my goal for myself is the same as my goals and hopes for my students.”

Written by Jennifer P. Mitchell, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College