Spotlight – Q & A
Where did you grow up? I was born in California and moved Longview at 2 years old. We moved here because my father got a new job at the Weyerhaeuser plant in Longview.
What schools did you attend? Growing up we lived in and around Longview, Kelso and Castle Rock. I attended Monticello Middle School and graduated from R.A. Long – class of 1984.
My memories of R.A. Long are great. Most young people want to move out of town. I graduated from high school then married my husband at the age of 18 and settled here – we’ve been married 34 years. Mrs. Trochim and her husband Phil have two adult girls.
Where did you go to college? WSU Vancouver – I’ll I ever wanted to be was a teacher. I was offered a job at Cascade Middle School before graduating from college and took the job. I’ve been at Cascade ever since, and this is my 15th year here.
What subject do you teach? I started out teaching English/Language Arts and still do – it’s my passion. I am also fortunate to work with kids in the WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) Leadership program.
What sort of leadership activities does WEB do? This week twenty-nine eighth grade student leaders walked up to Columbia Heights and played math games with first graders. Both the older and younger students loved the exercise. The event showed the older kids leadership and giving back to the community, while the younger kids learned math skills.
What do you do in your off time? My husband and I have three grand kids, who we love spending time with. I love to work in the yard, and our three dogs keep us busy. I enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction as often as possible.
How has teaching English/Language Arts changed? We are really targeted with our approach. There is a lot of testing, which takes significant time, but the data helps us focus on what to teach. The sad part is I’ve seen so much more homelessness and poverty. There was not this high of a level of issues back when I started.
What is the best thing about being a teacher? There’s so many things – but it’s the kids! Teaching them something they didn’t know – the love of reading and writing.
What are some of the keys to being a good teacher? Do something you are passionate about. If you’re passionate about being a teacher it’s great. You give your life to teaching, so hopefully it is enjoyable. Having been at Cascade fifteen years it feels like family. There’s been a lot of hope at Cascade since Mr. Rugg became the principal. He cares about kids.
How long have you worked in the district? 15 years – all at Cascade.
What advice would you have for new teachers? Don’t be too hard on yourself. I still learn a lot from my students, they’ll sometimes see something I didn’t catch. Keep it simple in the beginning. I coached volleyball for years and it’s hard to teach school, coach and get everything done – don’t take on too much.
How has teaching changed? Teaching is getting harder and harder because I want to do better and better.
What would you tell the community about what life is like in school? Because of social media I wouldn’t want to go back and be a middle school student again – social media has changed things. There’s a lot of goodness. The kids are great, but we need to find ways to help parents with mental health support, food, clothing and shelter. If we can educate a child nobody can take that away. It’s not a student’s fault they come from a difficult family situation. Education is the answer, it’s the way out.
How are students different from perceptions created by the media? Today’s students are more “worldly” than students of the past due to the Internet. The maturity of sixth graders versus eighth graders is pretty significant, so it depends on the grade your teaching.
What else? I care about kids and try do my best every day.