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Olan Genevieve Rodillas Years teaching: 6 years School: Vincente S.A. Benavente Middle School Subject: Social studies Hobbies: Cooking, guitar and Rotaract International

Striking a chord

Olan Genevieve Rodillas tries to relate to her seventh graders on their level to help them learn during a difficult part of their lives. She does this by incorporating her musical inclinations in the classroom. She had originally wanted to be a music teacher but found there were limited options as not all of Guam’s public schools have a music program. On occasion, she brings her guitar to class. “It’s a way to connect with the students,” she says. She plays songs they know, gets them to join in and if there is any free time, students are welcome to strum a tune or two. Additionally, she says, “You have to have a sense of humor because [preteens] can be moody. In middle school, you’re just trying to find yourself and I see that in my students.” Rodillas tries to mix it up in the classroom. She taps into her students’ varying learning styles and she tries to include all of them to help each student learn in his or her own way. Some express themselves better through writing, others not so much. Paper mache globes are popular with everyone, she says, as students enjoy getting messy. She tries to support her students’ interests by showing up to games if they’re athletes or encouraging them to audition for plays or productions if they’re interested in the arts. Rodillas comes from a family of educators. Her father, aunt and grandmothers were teachers. “I also had good teachers and wanted to be like them,” she says. “They inspired me to go out and inspire other young minds.”

R&R Pacific - August/September 2017  

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