Class Acts: A Q&A with Daniel Glenn

Alda Avila nominated Daniel Glenn for Class Acts. Avila said Glenn is a dedicated teacher at Wilson Elementary School who has established outstanding relationships with his students, co-workers, parents and administrators. Avila said Glenn passionately supports the PTA, works on the annual track and field event for the fifth- and sixth-graders, leads sixth-grade outdoor education, works on the school yearbook and serves as the school's Traffic Patrol leader. Glenn is an excellent and motivated teacher, Avila said.

• Name: Daniel Glenn

• Age: 32

• City of residence: Modesto

• Occupation: Teacher

• Family: Wife Kerrie, daughter Abigail, 5, son Isaac, 2, and one more due in July

• Education background: Bachelor's degree in liberal studies, multiple subjects teaching credential, California State University, Stanislaus

• Teaching experience: Seven years -- two at Salida Middle School teaching computer technology and seventh-grade life science and five teaching sixth grade at Wilson Elementary

Why did you get into teaching?

Going into college, nearly all of the careers that interested me were oriented in public service. I considered everything from law enforcement to youth ministry but decided on teaching after working as a latchkey aide for Modesto City Schools while attending college.

What is your favorite part about being a teacher?

I appreciate how teaching allows for a variety of experiences. A monotonous career it is not. I especially enjoy the interaction and relationships I build with my students.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Dividing my time between preparing my students for meeting state content standards and being responsible for the many tasks inside and outside the classroom that are required to maintain a school environment that's engaging for students. Not allowing the stresses of the job to distract me from my desire to make a positive and long-lasting impact in the lives of students can be an additional struggle.

What is your favorite teaching tool or activity?

Analogies and a sense of humor

What's next in your classroom?

Primarily, we are reviewing for state testing in math and language arts. The students would say they are most looking forward to attending science camp and competing in a multischool track-and-field event, both of which occur in May.

What advice do you have for students?

Spend your free time wisely. Watch less TV and spend less time on your computer and cell phone. Get involved in more productive activities such as team sports, hobbies, church, Scouts, etc.

What advice do you have for parents?

Model the types of behaviors and values you wish to instill in your children; they're watching closely. Allow your child to build a healthy identity for himself through activities such as team sports, hobbies, Scouts or a local youth group.

What will it take to improve academic success in the valley?

Academic success can rarely be reached without true effort by the school and the home. The issue is so much bigger than the education system alone.

How do you reach students not interested in school?

I attempt to make school a fun place to be, with the understanding that they're here to prepare for their future. Connecting students' interests with specific subject matter can be helpful for students who don't see the importance of education. My goal is that each student feels a sense of responsibility not only to himself, but to me, his parents and collectively as a member of our class.

What would surprise people about your job?

The wide variety of tasks many teachers end up taking on outside of their actual teaching day.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are a bit unclear. I was one of thousands of teachers that recently received a layoff notice in California. I do know I will continue working with students in the community in one capacity or another. My future goals in education are to gain teaching experience at a high school and to eventually become a middle school or high school principal.