Submitted by Denair Unified School District
Name: Valorie Periera
Family: Daughter, Angela; son, Cole; mom, Helen; sister Sandi
School: Denair Middle School
Subject taught: Currently, physical education (I also am the athletic director). I also have taught math, English, science and health science.
Experience and education: Modesto Junior College, San Jose State University (bachelor’s degree), CSU Stanislaus (teaching credential), San Diego International University (master’s degree). Following college, I had a few long-term teaching assignments. I have coached swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, softball and track. I began teaching at Denair in 1978.
What most inspires you about teaching? I enjoy the individual relationships I have with each unique student. Physical education provides an opportunity for each student to develop and perform at his/her own individual level. Students develop at different rates and when students realize what their body can accomplish through movement and exercise – that is the reward!
What are your biggest challenges as a teacher? I would say my biggest challenge is for students to understand that exercise and movement should be a daily part of life and to understand that what they feed their body affects them in so many ways. Also, as educators we have to deal with the impact the media plays in our students’ lives. I’m not saying it is all negative, but it can have a direct effect on the decisions they make.
What is your favorite teaching tool or activity? Using music in all activities; music is such a motivator. I emphasize individual activities – it’s OK to be competitive at times, but movement, exercise and activities do not always have to be competitive.
How has Common Core affected your classroom strategy? Common Core has opened conversations between students having to explain to each other basic concepts of fitness.
What do you want your students to remember? I hope my passion for health and fitness resonates to my students. I would like my students to understand that you have to always take care of your body and to choose an activity that they enjoy and can do the rest of their lives. I want them to understand that you need to embrace activity as part of your daily lives now and in the future.
How can parents support what you do? It’s important for parents to always model good sportsmanship and positive support for their child in athletic contests and in school. Also, physical activity can be a positive family experience. Parents can learn a lot a about their child while participating in physical activities.
What will it take to improve academic success in DUSD? I truly believe in the saying that it takes a “village” to raise the child. No matter how many challenges are out there, everyone should embrace optimism and a positive attitude toward moving forward in our district.
What would surprise people about your job? Each day is different. Students bring a new perspective each day and you always have to be ready each minute for new challenges. I am physically involved in all student activities – I rarely sit down! Physical education is not always about sports. My pet peeve has always been the saying, “It’s Just PE!”
What do you do for fun? My day begins at 5 o’clock each morning at a local boot camp. My mom lives on the coast and I spend a lot of time there. I love to bike along the coast. My latest hobby is kayaking. I also ride horses for pleasure and am getting ready to go on an annual weeklong horse trip in the hills.