When you walk into Maestra Mooney’s classroom, the first thing that will catch your eye is the artwork. Dozens of colorful projects line the wall, and it is almost a guarantee that some students will be dancing and chattering in rapid Spanish.
Mooney sits perched on her stool, watching her students and smiling. Her room is always open, filled with students, from the time she arrives on campus to the moment they are kicked off campus. She brings a smiling, friendly presence to the room.
Mooney recently won the Teacher of the Year award, given out by the Masonic brotherhood of Castro Valley. Every year, two teachers are recommended for the award: one elementary school teacher and one from the middle schools or high school.
Mooney has taught Spanish for ten years at all levels. This is her second year teaching Spanish 2. She is a native speaker and moved to the United States when she was 14.
When informed that she had won the award by Principal Mary Ann Valles, Mooney didn’t know what to say.
“I needed a couple weeks to process it,” said Mooney.
She didn’t tell her students, but many found out by word of mouth.
“That’s so great. I love Ms. Mooney,” said Amelia Ortiz.
“I don’t like the spotlight,” said Mooney when asked why she didn’t share the news. “This is what I do everyday. Teaching is a huge responsibility. If students don’t learn from adults [about staying positive] who will they learn from? This is my second home. I look forward to seeing the students and starting the lessons.”