Class Acts: A Q&A with Heidi Hawes

Hayden Jackson and Jerod Femino nominated Heidi Hawes for Class Acts. They said Hawes has fabulous teaching skills and makes learning fun. Hawes uses a SmartBoard in her classroom and has her class blogging.

Name: Heidi Hawes

Age: 40

City of residence: Ripon

Occupation: Seventh-grade teacher

Family: Husband Kevin and children Maddie, 11, and Trent, 9

Education background: Bachelor of Science in child development from Fresno State

Teaching experience: 16 years

Why did you get into teaching? I love to learn and I wanted to share that passion, just as my former teachers did for me. My mom says she always knew that I would be a teacher, because I would always play school with my four younger siblings. According to them, I was too strict.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher? I enjoy watching my former students continue with their education and become successful adults. It is always an honor to be invited to their graduations, weddings, sports events and other important moments in their lives.

What is the most challenging part of your job? It is always difficult to find the time and resources to meet the needs of all my students.

Favorite teaching tool or activity in the classroom: My blog is probably my favorite teaching tool. I include various activities for students to enhance their knowledge of what we are learning in class. Students love it because they get to communicate with each other by commenting on the posts I create. Parents love it because I post homework assignments and important messages. I also use it to showcase student work and accomplishments.

What's next in your classroom? My students just finished writing their Renaissance reports. They are creating PowerPoint presentations and will use them to bring their Renaissance person to life.

Advice for new teachers: I believe students work harder and behave better when they know their teacher respects them. Students will respect you when you are honest, fair and consistent. I also believe in setting high expectations. Students will generally perform to the level you expect.

Advice for students: I have a quote in my classroom that says: Your "I Will" is more important than your "IQ." My advice to students is to always give your best effort and to work harder in the areas you struggle in.

Advice for parents: Parents need to be supportive. Good things always happen when everyone is on the same team. Parents also need to praise their child's accomplishments, no matter how big or small they seem.

Future plans: I love to work with technology and am always looking for workshops that introduce the newest technology tools. Right now, I am working on developing geocache units for science and social studies.