Darlene Arenivas is an M.Ed. candidate, pursuing her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in the Teacher Education Program. Arenivas, a first-generation college graduate, earned her B.A. in Spanish with minors in applied psychology and educational studies from UCSB. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a Youth Development Professional at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara. Also, Arenivas completed 80 volunteer hours at Harding University Partnership School in Santa Barbara as a pre-professional. After graduation, she worked as a tutor and assisted 2nd and 3rd graders in navigating through online learning. These experiences validated her desire to become a teacher and fed her passion for working with disadvantaged youth.
GGSE: How do you spend your free time?
Arenivas: Since free time is limited during graduate school, I like to focus on self-care. I believe one cannot assist others unless one is mentally healthy. With that said, I enjoy spending my free time with my support system, my family, and friends. Some activities we like to do together are watching the sunset with pizza, going on walks, or enjoying a cup of tea together. But I also cherish my alone time; I like to journal, practice yoga, clean my surrounding areas and push my 70 pound bulldog in a wagon at the beach.
GGSE: How did your time as a volunteer at Harding University Partnership School help you grow as an educator?
Arenivas: I have always known I wanted to work with children in the education system. I did not know specifically what I wanted to do, but my time volunteering at Harding University Partnership School validated my desire to become a teacher. My cooperating teacher was a fantastic resource; she allowed me to ask for help/advice. I will always appreciate her transparency with the struggles of being a teacher; she spoke on common challenges and how she and her colleagues conquered such challenges. I liked to focus on her classroom management techniques, primarily how she handled misbehaved children. She handled many things with grace and compassion. She is a HUGE inspiration.
GGSE: What's your favorite experience from being an online tutor? What insight do you have to share about teaching elementary school online?
Arenivas: I felt like I was a fly on the wall! In a low-stakes environment, I saw how the teachers presented the curriculum and, more importantly, how the teachers handled the transition to online learning. I was able to help many families and students, but they helped me receive that exposure.
An insight I would love to share about teaching online is the importance of communication and flexibility. The teachers created a dialogue with their students and students' families. Every week the teachers sent out a survey to ask the students and their caretakers what was or was not working for them and what they needed to succeed with this format.
GGSE: If you could live anywhere, where and why?
Arenivas: There are so many places with so little time! I am attracted to any country whose official language is Spanish. But if I had to choose one, I would love to live in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am Mexican-American, and it would be a privilege to go back to the country where my family is from. Also, it is very close to Central America. One day you all will see me living my best life in Mexico!