Best of Pacifica 2022- Favorite Educator: Gina Arguello
Congratulations to Ortega's Ms. Gina Arguello for being named
Favorite Educator in The Pacifica Anchor's "Best of Pacifica 2022"
This August our local magazine, The Pacifica Anchor, brought back the popular "Best Of Pacifica" issue. The Pacifica Anchor allowed two weeks for the community to nominate their favorites then gave them a chance to vote for the best. The community spoke and Ms. Arguello was named Favorite Educator. Congratulations, Ms. Arguello!!
To celebrate this honor, we thought it would be nice to get to know Ms. Arguello a little better. Three fifth grade former students sat down with her during a recent lunch period to ask her questions about her teaching, favorite foods (her response to cheese is funny!), favorite school supplies, and so much more.
The following is an edited transcript of the conversation between students Vivienne, Lucy, Frances and Ms. Arguello. If you would like to listen to the full interview, which is quite sweet and about 13 minutes long, there is a link at the bottom of this page.
Lucy: What was the most fun year you’ve taught?
Ms. Arguello: That's hard to say an actual year. But my favorite years are the years where the class feels like a family and we do lots of funny things. We still get our work taken care of but we get to do a lot of fun things too.
Vivienne: How long have you been teaching?
Ms. Arguello: This is the start of my 18th year.
Vivienne: What was your favorite field trip?
Ms. Arguello: My favorite field trip was a really hard one to do. We went to Sutter's Fort. And planning that was sort of like planning a wedding. But we got to dress up, drive up to Sacramento. We slept there. You can go even if it's not a field trip, you can go and visit. But it was a sleep over one and it was my first overnight field trip.
Lucy: We get to go to Outdoor Ed.
Ms. Arguello: Outdoor Ed is the best. It's hard to call that a field trip but I guess that is. I got to go to Outdoor Ed in place of another teacher once or twice. That was so fun!
Lucy: We hope we are in the same cabin. Were they sick or something?
Ms. Arguello: One time, one lady was pregnant and she was kinda close to her due date so it was just safer. And the other time a teacher was having some struggles with family and she needed to stay close so I went for her.
Vivienne: What is your favorite animal?
Ms. Arguello:My favorite flying animal is the Snowy Owl. [Like Harry Potter?] Like Hedwig, yes. And my favorite land animal is probably the jaguar because they look so cool. Like a black panther. My favorite marine animal is probably the dolphin.
Vivienne: What is your favorite Color?
Ms. Arguello: Well, in general green. I also like red and purple depending on what we are talking about. Are we talking about an outfit or are we talking about phone cases? It depends.
Frances: What is your favorite food?
Ms. Arguello: My favorite food. Hmm. I’m going to say pizza because there are so many options.
Vivienne: What is your favorite type of fish and your favorite kind of sushi?
Ms. Arguello: My favorite kind of fish is salmon. My favorite sushi - I actually really like vegetable sushi. I know it's not really sushi. But, you know, the vegetable rolls, those are really good.
Vivienne: What is your favorite kind of cheese?
Ms. Arguello: My favorite kind of cheese is the kind that someone else eats for me! No, but for real, I do like pizza.
Lucy: If you could eat cheese?
Ms. Arguello: I don’t know. I don’t really like cheese in general. But mozzarella is mild enough that I do like pizza.
Frances: What is your favorite Subject?
Ms. Arguello: My favorite subject to teach?
Frances: In general? Both?
Ms. Arguello:My favorite subject to teach is definitely math. (Laughs) because math was so hard for me growing up I wanted to learn how to make it easier for kids. And now the way we teach math makes so much more sense and it's exciting to share that with kids because it doesn’t have to be a struggle. But my favorite subject in general, like when I was in school, I loved reading. That wasn’t a struggle for me. Math was always hard.
Frances: What was your favorite subject that someone was teaching to you?
Ms. Arguello: Physics. I really liked physics. And I actually wanted to go to college and do physics but because I couldn’t do the math it didn’t make sense to me, I stopped. And so I hope that you [students] don’t have to make that choice. To stop because it doesn’t make sense to you.
Vivienne: I’ve never done physics before.
Ms. Arguello: You have! It's just a type of science. We don’t really separate our sciences out when you are in elementary school like that.
Frances: Have you ever taught about teaching a higher grade? Like middle school? Or a younger grade like kindergarten, or first grade or something?
Ms. Arguello: Because I make a lot of goofy jokes, Kindergartners don’t really get them. So I have thought about it. They are very cute. Hmm. I think I was made for teaching 4th grade. I would like to try teaching 3rd grade or 5th grade. 3rd or 5th would be nice. Middle school is a whole different ball game. I don't know. I don’t know how I would do. Maybe I’ll try it in the future.
Vivienne: Is there anything you liked about zoom school?
Ms. Arguello: Oh ya! When we were distant Learning?! I liked that I could say put your thoughts in the chat and everyone at home, even if they were off camera, would communicate through the chat. So they didn’t have to say anything. And I got to hear people's thoughts that they don’t normally share because they are either too shy, or they don’t want to say it in front of the class for whatever reason. But I got to hear things from the quiet kids that I don’t normally. And I was like How can I do this in class? How is there a way that kids could message me directly, in real time? Like here is a math thing, what do you think? And they could type it in really fast. Or chat me your answer.
Lucy: Just get everyone a little computer thing on your desk. Ya.
Ms. Arguello:And they do have those systems. They are very expensive.
Lucy: Ya begin able to afford like 20 of them.
Ms. Arguello: Let alone 30!
Frances: If you could bring back one of your classes, which one would it be?
Ms. Arguello: Like if I could revisit them?
Frances: Ya or if they could be in your class again?
Ms. Arguello: Ohhh that's tough! That is hard to say because what would be really cool, what I’ve always dreamed of, I don't see how I could do this but if I could have a picnic at Frontierland and just invite all my former students? Like - What are you doing now? Come hang out, let's have a BBQ!
That would be so cool to see where everyone is!
Frances:Well maybe you could?
Ms. Arguello: I know that would be a lot. I don’t know how I would even get a hold of everyone!
Frances: Like if somebody in your class had a sibling in your class they could tell them. And the sibling could tell other people.
Ms. Arguello: I could, that is true
Lucy: But that would also be cool for the people from newer classes meeting the people from the older classes.
Ms. Arguello: Ya. and they can say oh, do you still have this? And then it would be like, no we don’t have that anymore, now we have this. Like the Peace Corner is kind of new to me. You were the first to have that. But I’ve had smarty pants pretty much the whole Time I’ve been teaching.
Lucy: Do you still have bucket fillers?
Ms. Arguello: I do. I still have bucket fillers. They are over there. I forgot to ask Paige to hang them.
Umm. But so it wouldn’t be just one class. I’d like to see how everyone is doing. Ya.
Frances: If you could be the principal instead of teaching, would you do it? Why?
Ms. Arguello: I have thought about it. And it is fun to visit. Because I am the teacher in charge so it is nice to go and pretend to be in charge for a day. Um. But I like working with kids and it takes me out of that. So I don’t get to work with kids as much. I think my dream job would be, being a math intervention teacher where I could pull small groups of kids and work on what they need to work on in math.
Frances: The way you could maybe, like not everybody but some people, is like doesn’t the office automatically keep their number?
Ms. Arguello: Oh you are talking about reconnecting with students?
Ms. Arguello: Not the office but the district might.
Lucy: But that probably would be pretty hard to do.
Ms. Arguello: Ya.
Vivienne: Did you like it when there was a science class?
Ms. Arguello: Like a science lab teacher? Oh I loved it! That was so awesome. I miss having a science lab teacher. [...] We’ve had different science lab teachers. But the thing that I really appreciated was that it is so fun having the hands on part but it's just too much to set up for me. To have someone who could set that up, even, we had a teacher that would set it up but I would teach it. I would go and teach but she had all the stuff set up already. So I didn’t have to have it set up or tell her what to set up.
Vivienne: What is your favorite school supplies brand?
Ms. Arguello: That is a tough one! I think I’m going to have to go with Sharpie. Because they don’t just make the permanent markers, they make different types of pens, like the sharpie pens that are really nice because they don’t bleed through. They also make my favorite highlighter. That is an interesting question.
Lucy: Ohh, I thought you were going to say something like Crayola!
Vivienne: Or Elmers glue!
Ms. Arguello: I have been a little disappointed in the quality of Crayola crayons because I have old-school Crayola and you can feel a difference with the new Crayola. The new ones are much waxier.
Frances:I don’t really like the shape of the Crayola masks!
Ms. Arguello: Oh I don’t have an opinion on the Crayola masks.
Lucy: Haha. I never thought we’d be talking about crayons!!
Ms. Arguello: [Laughter] Well I do have an opinion about them!
Lucy: What is your favorite book to read in your classes or book you’ve read to your classes?
Ms. Arguello: OHH umm. I love how invested the students get in Out of My Mind.
Lucy: Oh that is a good book!
Ms. Arguello: It is a good book. I love reading Marshfield Dreams, I love reading Waste Side Stories from Waste Side School. But when we read Out of my Mind.
Lucy: Everyone just wants you to keep on reading!
Ms. Arguello: Yes.
Lucy: That is how it is in our class because we are reading a book right now called Restart and every single chapter leaves you on a cliffhanger.
Ms. Arguello: Oh man.
Lucy: But like what book is your class on right now?
Ms. Arguello: We are at the end of Marshfield Dreams.
Ms. Arguello: So.
Lucy: Are you going to be doing Out of My Mind? Fig Pudding?
Ms. Arguello: Well Fig Pudding so that we can start writing our own realistic fictions. Which is why I read Fig Pudding. Because you can see how he took real life things from his life, like Marshfield Dreams, and used them to make a story, Fig Pudding. Because that is what we are going to be doing.
Lucy: I think that is all of the questions.
Ms. Arguello: Thank you ladies.