One In A Million: Quarter 4 – 2023: Marissa Curia

Marissa Curia

Name: Marissa Curia

School & District: Madrid Neighborhood School, Alhambra

Grade(s) you teach: 2nd grade

How many students in your class(es) this academic year? 23

How long have you been a teacher?

This is my second year at Madrid, I have been teaching in some setting or another for about 8 years.

What made you get into the teaching profession?

My mom was a teacher, and I was always moved to a leadership or training role in any of my other jobs before teaching, so it seemed like a good fit.

Who was your most inspirational teacher & why?

My mom. She was my teacher for a while, and she was always just so kind and fun. She loved helping kids and I always strive to be like her in my classroom.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?

One of the biggest challenges teachers face in Arizona today is funding. A good education is expensive, and it is very difficult to have a school properly funded.

How do these issues affect your day to day?

Not having enough money for supplies, programs and adequate staff affect our day to day greatly. Students go through supplies quickly and sometimes have to share. Having enough of everything for projects and activities that assist in learning often comes out of the teacher’s own pocket. Some students require extra support that they cannot receive due to not having enough staff.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?

Our district does what it can to support their teachers. Every little bit counts, but that isn’t nearly close to enough to provide schools with what they need.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality?

I would say I knew teaching was going to be a challenge. In reality, the amount of work you have to put in each day is pretty astronomical. Teachers make so much from scratch each day even with sharing and websites we can purchase things from. It is like having 2 full-time jobs and can make work/life balance pretty impossible a lot of the time.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?

People who are not in education or who work at really well-funded schools do not understand what a teacher’s life really looks like. They think that the breaks we have make our jobs easy. We work nights and weekends, I personally arrive at school very early. We have training during our breaks a lot of the time as well and we are asked to go to school events throughout the year as well as several parent teacher conferences, IEP meetings and planning with our teams. There are amazing parents, but a lot of parents don’t really have a lot of respect for their children’s teachers. I have learned to not read any comments on news articles about teachers because it can be disheartening.

Do you typically feel appreciated or recognized as a teacher?

I do feel appreciated by my employers, team and a lot of my parents, but it is difficult to feel appreciated in general.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?

Seeing my students succeed and being happy. I know they are trying their hardest and they love to show me their achievements and tell me about their lives. It really helps me to know that I am such an important part of their future.

What are some of the most thoughtful & effective ways parents & the
community can show gratitude?

Saying thank you, voting for education, supporting their kiddos at home, allowing their kids to go tutoring when it is offered on time and most importantly having their children attend school and on time.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?

My wish is that the children of Arizona, receive the best education possible regardless of their zip code and social standing.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom & who do people contact if they want to help out?

Anything is helpful. Being able to print in color would be great, field trip funds to help build our student’s background knowledge.

What types of items/prizes are meaningful to you to win/be gifted?

I am grateful to be nominated and recognized. It really made my day reading the email. I love to go to events and travel. I go to concerts of all sorts and I love hockey. I also love going out to restaurants and other places with my husband.

What is/are your FAVORITE/PREFERRED…

  • College/University/Alma Mater? WGU
  • Color? Black
  • Food/restaurant? Glai Baan is my favorite Phoenix restaurant. I also love to try new places. Other restaurants I enjoy are Cocina 10, Taco Guild, The Main Ingredient.
  • Music/group/artist? I go to concerts all of the time, and I like a little of everything. Gogol Bordello, Misfits, The Runaways, Reverend Horton Heat, Night Club… so many more!
  • Sport/athletics team? STL Cardinals, STL Blues, Coyotes
  • Snack & Beverage? Coffee, unsweet tea, chips and dip and fruit.
  • Pastime/hobby? Going to concerts/festivals, traveling, cooking and going to the movies.
  • Do you have children/pets? I have two fur babies. My cats are Kachiko and Persephone.
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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+