Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/1020edadvice20.html

Top teachers' tips for parents
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 20, 2003

Pat Kossan

Most of us can remember the teacher who inspired us, who touched our lives and made us want to learn.

Great teachers can change their students' lives. Studies show that students of effective teachers do better on tests and produce creative, high-quality work.

The Arizona Republic asked five of the best teachers in the state to give parents advice on how to help their children thrive in school. Each is a former winner of the Arizona Education Foundation's Teacher of the Year award.

Rich Mayorga

Year: 2003.

Now: Teaches advanced history, government and economics at Sunnyside High School, Tucson.

Advice: "Read with your child, no matter what the age. Turn off the television and have dinner together. Have fun together."

Maria Frontain


Now: Teaches special education at Flowing Wells High School, Tucson.

Advice: "Hug them every day. Tell them they're great, just the way they are. And push them to be just a little better. Don't give up on children with special needs. They can become a vital part of our community."

John Mulcahy


Now: Teaches agriculture at Peoria High School, Peoria.

Advice: "Help your son or daughter find their passion and then pursue it. When it comes to high school students, any focus is better than none. It gives them a reason to come to school and a context in which to appreciate those subjects they're not passionate about, like math."

Jim Manley

Year: 2000.

Now: Teaches at Northern Arizona University and is a consultant for the Flagstaff Unified School District's charter school, Mountain English and Spanish Academy.

Advice: "Make sure there are plenty of books at home. Parents should turn off the television and read a novel themselves, so their children can see them reading and enjoying. If children see the purpose and power in words, they're more motivated to read and write themselves."

Ginny Kalish


Now: Teaches gifted and bilingual programs at Paradise Valley's Palomino Elementary, Phoenix.

Advice: "Read to your child. Even if you can't read, talk about a story if you see a movie or a television show. Start when they're 1 year old. All of our statistics and studies show that's what makes good students."