To Be An English Teacher: Meet Ms. Rivera

Ms. Ianaliz Rivera, a student intern in the EHHS English Department, graduated from her undergraduate program at Southern Connecticut State University with her teaching certificate in English in Secondary Education on May 20th, 2022. Ms. Rivera observed and interned at EHHS during the 2021-22 school year, making herself a valued and cherished member of the English Department.

A graduate of Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven, CT, Ms. Rivera was exposed to a lot of new elements that made her want to become an English teacher. One of these was a love to read and write things, like poetry and short stories. She also said that one of her English teachers who held a book club for the students was the reason she wanted to become such an involved and supportive teacher. She said, “I used to have an English Teacher in high school who would hold a book club. We’d go over to her house, eat popcorn, and drink diet soda. Then we’d discuss the books and she treated us like we were human. It made me want to become that kind of teacher for my students.” From there, Ms. Rivera knew that she wanted to pursue her love of English but also have an impact on students' lives. She chose to commit to SCSU for four years and graduated from their undergraduate program with her teaching certificate, ready to go into teaching right off the bat.

Under the direction of Ms. Emilia Caturano, a veteran teacher in the English Department, Ms. Rivera said she was able to truly blossom and take control of the classroom. She was able to hold class discussions, create lesson plans that made the students work with their peers, and get all of her students to really come out of their shell. Ms. Rivera said, “The best moments of teaching are when the quiet kids really start to joke with me and I get to see their personality come out.” Overall, Ms. Rivera said that she truly enjoyed her time at EHHS and getting to know her students, what teaching on her own was like, and getting to know her colleagues.

Ms. Rivera and student, Mirta Sandoval

When it came to teaching in the classroom, Ms. Rivera was a fan-favorite of her students. EHHS Sophomore Samantha Thy, who took Creative Writing with Ms. Rivera, said, “Ms. Rivera was always welcoming and made the classroom feel safe when anyone was in the room. She understands everything and is really nice. That’s what stood out to me.” Many of her other students agreed, saying that she was always very helpful and offered support whenever they needed it. Even in classes she didn’t teach like Study Hall, she always made it a positive experience EHHS Junior Emily Cancel expressed to The Comet. “My favorite thing about her is how bubbly her personality is. It's so easy to talk to her and it’s never a sad or dull moment when she's in the classroom. She's always finding a way to get the room to engage in conversations and positive thoughts. I wish only the best for her!” Emily said.

On May 6th, 2022, students in Ms. Rivera’s classes held a “Graduation Celebration” to honor her and to give her their best wishes. Ms. Rivera will continue her education at SCSU and is planning to get her Master’s Degree in Counseling. She will be missed by all of her students and colleagues. On behalf of the EHHS Comet, we wish Ms. Ianaliz Rivera the best of luck!