Teacher Feature: Meet Cathy Guiley, Valencia Elementary, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, California USA
At first glance, Mrs. Guiley’s classroom at Valencia Elementary School seems like your typical classroom, but once inside you feel transported to another world — the world of science. Inside feels like an organized jungle, full of books, visuals, and of course, many creatures big and small. “Some children are scared of this little guy Pinkie at the beginning of the year,” she explained as she passed me one large, energetic corn snake which immediately coiled around my arm. “But by the end of year, they love him, and can hold him for hours.”
Her love for animals is something she shares with almost 100 students every year, who come to her class to explore and delve into all sorts of science for several hours a week. From building towers that can withstand air cannons to field trips at the nearby creek, her 3rd through 5th grade students learn through “hands on” experiences, before they even get to junior high. Additionally she helps her students who compete in the MATE challenge in Santa Cruz, designing robots that can carry out challenging tasks underwater.
Cathy Guiley has been a teacher at Valencia Elementary for 12 years, teaching science for 10. “I love teaching because my students get excited about learning, and the classroom conversations and discussions are great to watch.” When asked why she wants to participate in ISSP she replied, “I always want to get my students out of the classroom. This gives them an opportunity to do just that, and learn so much more.” Mrs. Guiley will be working on the pilot program with one of our teachers from Tassah Academy in Cameroon.