Teacher Tribute: Cienega High's Elisa Rivera

Teacher Tribute: Cienega High's Elisa Rivera

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Meet Elisa Rivera's teaching assistant, Pepe, who is bound to put a smile on her student's faces.

Rivera is always happy, that is according to one Cienega High School student, Madison Lipman, "She's never in a bad mood. I love having her as a teacher."

"I think you have to have a sense of humor especially with high school students to make fun of yourself," said Rivera, who brings her sense of humor to teaching Spanish.

She knows picking up a new language is challenging.

"When I first came into the class I didn't know much. I didn't know how it was going to work," said Cienega High Student Caleb Calaway.

"The alphabet is completely different. It's way harder than I thought it was going to be and after having her as a teacher, I think I'm going to be good for the next three years," Lipman said.                                                                                                                  

To help students really grasp the language she makes learning Spanish a team effort. 

Teens are up and moving in exercises where they have chance to speak the language to each other so they can roll those "r"s.

"I like to do a lot of collaborating with partners. A lot of partner work where the students feel comfortable talking," Rivera said.

"That really helps cause I always get stuck in there all the time. I'm always stuck and confused, but she is always there to help and that really helps and she explains it fluently and in detail,"  Calaway said.

Thanks to Rivera, students like Madison and Caleb can walk away from class with a better understanding of a foreign language. 

"I think with a language it opens so many opportunities with whatever job they're searching for in the future. I just want them to be successful," Rivera said.

15 years ago Rivera started her teaching career at Cienega and she said she will be a Bobcat for life. She hopes to inspire her students to get out there and explore new cultures.

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