School for the Visual Arts and Humanities

A teacher, a life coach, a friend

Moving to a new city, especially one like Los Angeles, during the middle of high school can be a stressful time. It’s important to have teachers who you know can help you and guide you through the changes that come with a new school, city, or even state. Miss Zapanta, my 10th grade World History teacher, was that teacher for me. She helped me, along with many other students, through he stressful time that is high school.

Aside from just being a guiding person in my life, she was a teacher that made it fun to learn history again. Many history teachers will just go straight out of the book, make you learn things based on the bias that every textbook has. Miss Zapanta challenged us to think for ourselves every single day and really made it a totally different experience from any other history class I’ve been in. She made everything about taking your own side and coming up with your own ideas about what really happened. It’s hard to teach something like history without having a bias, so rather than telling us what happened, Miss Zapanta would give us information and documents and tell us to write the story of what happened.

Outside of being a teacher, Miss Zapanta was a friend to students who needed someone. Many teachers don’t take the time to learn about their students aside from their name and what they act like in class. Miss Zapanta tried to get to know what students were like with their friends and what they were as humans not just students. You could go to her just to have a conversation or to get some advice on something and I think that that’s one of the best things about her. She really builds a relationship with any students who put forth the effort to build one with her and it’s really endearing to know that she sees her students as just another person rather than just a name and a student ID number and a grade.

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