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Teacher Feature: Mrs. Urbaez

Mrs. Urbaez in front of her new “Smart Moments” door that includes statements made by her students.

Lillian Hui

Mrs. Urbaez in front of her new “Smart Moments” door that includes statements made by her students.

Lillian Hui, A&E Editor

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In the 2014-2015 school year, new teachers were brought in as old teachers left. One new teacher, Mrs. Carla Urbaez, was brought in, and now she has her hands full with all of her new students.

As a teacher of six years, Mrs. Urbaez is no stranger to working with others and incorporating the ideas of students to make the learning experience for them better.

According to NMHS vice principal, Mr. Jerry Perrone, “Mrs. Urbaez has brought her teaching experiences to NMHS and has used that to create unique perspectives and learning experiences for our students in her Language Arts classes.”

“As a teacher, I try to incorporate non-fiction with fiction and I like to listen rather than do all of the talking myself. I really enjoy when we sit facing each other in a circle.”

She further explained, “I feel like those who don’t get an opportunity to talk will have the chance to and I really love watching the students present.”

One student in her class, Caren Opina, stated that her sophomore English class is really interesting as well as helpful. “Mrs. Urbaez’s class has been really helpful for me.”

Opina then stated,  “Her class has truly helped me improve my writing skills with extracting important information from a source to convey different tones. My skills have improved quite a bit during her class and now my writing has a better flow than ever before.”

Opina added that her writing used to be unorganized, but with Mrs. Urbaez’s help, “I have learned to format my writing in a way that the audience can understand better…Now I have learned the proper way to write an essay and have learned to write straight to the point without going off topic.”

In addition to meeting new students, Mrs. Urbaez met new staff members at NMHS that would help with creating new ideas to help her students.

Mrs. Urbaez stated that everyone has been very friendly since the start of working at NMHS. “People have been welcoming and friendly.”

When asked about if it’s been easy to work with her students, Mrs. Urbaez said, “Every school has it’s own challenges. The students here are usually very open to constructive criticism and I believe every kid in here wants to learn.”

Mrs. Jessica Groff, having previously worked with Mrs. Urbaez at Central High School in Newark, noted that Mrs. Urbaez “brings her vast knowledge of literature, her unique understanding of student needs, and her down-to-earth view on life.” Mrs. Groff also noted that, “Mrs. Urbaez has always been so connected to her students.”

Mrs. Groff further explained, “I think that the reason that kids connect with her so easily is because she does not gloss things over for them.  She is real and tells it like it is.  If it’s going to be hard, she tells them that it’s going to be hard, and then she rolls up her sleeves and gets in there and gets dirty alongside them.”

Mr. Perrone feels that Mrs. Urbaez has a “calm and welcoming presence and has created a classroom setting which presents the same when students enter. As a result, students are comfortable while being encouraged to develop and expand their knowledge in the subject area,” which shows her connection to her students.

When Mrs. Groff was asked how her experience with Mrs. Urbaez was before either had come to NMHS, Mrs. Groff stated, “I remember spending time with her in her classroom [at Central High School], and the walls were plastered with student work and there was always a gaggle of students just hanging out with her, talking to her about their lives and their struggles.”

Although she has gotten closer students, it’s a bit of a challenge with the staff. “Unfortunately teaching can be isolating so I hardly see the staff. If I do see the staff it’s during a meeting or workshop. But I see the members of the main office almost every day and they are very friendly.”

As a student that has the opportunity to be in her class, Mrs. Urbaez definitely has helped a lot with her teaching strategies and open-mindedness to new and different ideas. We hope that Mrs. Urbaez makes some great memories here at NMHS with the students!

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Teacher Feature: Mrs. Urbaez