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City Year Los Angeles teacher spotlight – Part 4

City Year AmeriCorps members work side-by-side in collaboration with their partner teachers to fully support their students in the classroom. We are proud to partner with visionary teachers who continue to inspire and lead the future leaders of tomorrow. For today’s spotlight, we will be focusing on Ms. Klanfer who is a science teacher at Hollenbeck Middle School.
Name: Ms. Klanfer
Hometown: Highland Park, Los Angeles
Years teaching: 13 years teaching seventh- and eighth-grade science

If you could give the grade-school version of yourself advice, what would you say?

“I would say that it is okay to fail, and in fact, failure is a good thing so that you can learn from your mistakes and that failure doesn’t mean to give up. It’s just another opportunity to do something over again. Failure is ok.”

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

“My favorite thing about teaching is teaching science to students because it is fun and exciting. The kids like to do hands-on activities, and they like to do projects. I enjoy this age because they’re still really excited about school and are excited to learn new things.”

As an educator in Los Angeles Unified School District, how do you hope to inspire your students?

“I need them to know that students of color are needed in science. We need more Latinos; we need more African Americans in science. I mean there’s a huge disparity of people of color in science, and because of that, a lot of times, the voices of community members that are needed aren’t represented in those spaces. So, I need them to aspire, at the very least, to understand science, understand what climate change is, understand their medical history and just be advocates for health because more often than not, it’s their communities that are affected negatively. They don’t necessarily have to be engineers, but if they can make better decisions at the grocery market because of science, then I’ve done my job. So, I hope that students can see me, as a person from Los Angeles, a Latina, who pursued science because I was really passionate about it, and I also just like to nerd out.”

Has City Year helped you in the classroom?

“Absolutely! You build relationships! You support us. You provide structured fun. You listen.

“Having the intervention class in fourth grade means I have first-grade readers. I have students who do not know how to write a complete sentence. I have students who do not have number sense (for now, it changes). I can’t teach by myself. City Year corps is necessary for my classroom.”

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