C Magazine

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Classroom Aides

Fifty classroom aides are a vital part of the Paly community as they support and guide students in their learning across campus so that they can make the most of their education. Aides act not only as a liaison between a student and a teacher but also work to support each student academically, emotionally and socially in the classroom. Their jobs are difficult but rewarding. “Basically it’s doing everything and anything necessary for kids to succeed not just academically but also socially, helping them make friends, navigate situations and teach them life skills and modify curriculum so they can learn in a way that makes sense to them,” Mrigendra Steiner, a classroom aide of 17 years and a part of PAUSD for over 50 years, said. Although they are an integral part of some class environments at Paly many students are unaware of their impact.

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Kamal Vilms - Photos by Ryan Gwyn

During school hours Kamal Vilms is a helper and a friend to students here on campus, but after school she is a yoga instructor for adults in need of relaxation. Teaching is in Ms.Vilms’ blood, but before her career in education she was a flight attendant. “I have really traveled an enormous amount,” Vilms said. “The only places I haven’t been to are South America and South Africa; and I haven’t seen China as thoroughly as I would like.”

Ms. Yean, originally from Cambodia, has been now been working at PAUSD for 11 years. Ms.Yean was two months away from becoming a teacher in Cambodia when the communist regime took over. “Everybody was forced out to the working field,” Yean said. “I did not get a chance to do what I was supposed to do. I was in school and they forced us out. We were in almost like a concentration camp… 3 million people died.” Soon after these events took place she fled to America and got a job at a software corporation. In time, her path once again  returned to the field of education.

Mr. Torrance is a teacher and a helper inside and outside of the Paly community. Torrance is a rock star at math and uses his skills to teach students here at Paly and assists with math at the Kumon Learning Center. Although he is now following in his dad’s footsteps of becoming a teacher, this was not Mr. Torrance’s intended route; in college he majored in Church Leadership, in hopes of becoming a Pastor. “Wherever you are, whatever job you do, I would hope to encourage students to just make a difference in other people’s lives,” Torrance said.

palo alto high school's arts and culture magazine
Classroom Aides