Gina Travalini, French This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 26, 2010
There’s only one classroom in my school where the person making animal noises and dancing around the room isn’t a student. Ms. Travalini runs her class with high energy and a no-nonsense policy. Some students might complain about her bubbly personality early in the morning, or the fact that they can’t have a personal conversation in her classroom. But in reality, I have learned more in her French class than in any other language class I’ve ever taken.

Don’t think that because Ms. Tray teaches from bell to bell that she’s unbearable to be around. She’s the most personable teacher I’ve ever met. She never looks down on us, but rather respects us all, and treats us like people rather than students. Even though Ms. Tray makes weird noises and dances around the room to keep us awake, she maintains an atmosphere of maturity in her classroom. Ms. Tray places a high priority on never discriminating, and has a slur-free classroom. Unlike most teachers, she relates to us and seems to actually understand us.

Ms. Tray is also a phenomenal teacher. She breaks down her class into units, which are then broken down into lessons. For every lesson there’s a quiz, and for every unit there’s a test. For every lesson we get a packet of work to do, and as long as you do your class work, that packet is your only homework. I actually use my French book outside of class, too; Ms. Tray teaches so that we can always check the book and find the answers to our questions.

Of course, with French, learning how to speak is integral. To help us with our pronunciation and ­vocabulary, we play games. If you win the game, you get a ticket for an extra credit raffle that takes place each Friday. In addition to all of that, every month Ms. Tray picks one student of the month whose picture is hung on the wall and receives a certificate and extra credit.

This year, French didn’t fit into my schedule, but I would have been very annoyed if I couldn’t take it. Ms. Tray had the determination to help me manage an independent study; now, I learn everything a normal French II student would. Even in the busy study hall where we meet, she is willing to answer my questions. Ms. Tray stays involved beyond school hours to help me if I need it. She is also the head of the environmental and international clubs.

Both of my sisters had Ms. Tray as a teacher, and my entire family agrees that she is someone who has an outstanding personality, morals, and character. As a teacher, she makes sure that as long as we have the ability and put in our best honest effort, we pass. With Ms. Tray’s strong foundation, I hope to continue French in college, and to be fluent some day. Ms. Travalini’s dedication has made an impact on me personally, and for that, I respect her highly. Her commitment, awareness, and honesty make her a remarkable individual.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Crooner said...
May 26, 2010 at 7:42 pm
Yes, this is Gina's proud father. Few people know what career they will end up with while they are still in elementary school. Gina knew that she wanted to be a teacher from about age 6. She first played school with all her dolls and stuffed animals. After that stopped being fulfilling, she would round up the neighbor kids and press them into service, sometimes against their will. She was destined to teach real students and has obviously made the right choice.
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