Henrico’s Top Teachers – Erica Kagan

Erica Kagan always loved school and working with children. As an undergrad at VCU, she traveled to a number of Spanish-speaking countries, and her love for the Spanish language and culture was solidified.

It’s no surprise, then, that she’s living her dream each day as a Spanish teacher at Tuckahoe Middle School.

“Spanish is such a fun class to teach,” she said. “[The students] really enjoy it. It’s not just sitting and taking notes – we show videos, we do dances, we use online programs, we do projects that are relative to their lives.”

Kagan, a Long Island native, has spent each of her four years as a teacher at Tuckahoe, where she also teaches in the IB program.

“It’s just such a positive place to be,” she said. “The school is such a diverse school with kids from all over, and it’s like a little family within the staff. I want to go to work in the morning. It’s a just a really great environment. I love it.”

Kagan’s students feel the effects of her excitement.

“Ms. Kagan is always in a great mood!” one student wrote in a nomination letter. “Everyone who has her for Spanish looks forward to her class. She teaches in a unique way (like doing skits, songs and music videos), not just off a Powerpoint, like some of my other classes.”

Kagan was influenced by a teacher in Spain during her time studying abroad.

“She made the concepts fun and engaging and made us want to learn, want to study it,” she recalled. Now Kagan tries to do the same for her students.

“If I show them that I really love something, it makes them really love it as well.”

The concept seems to be working.

“She has caused me to look at a different view of learning,” the student nominator wrote. “In other words, before this Spanish class, I thought school was just taking notes and reading. Yes, there are several times that we have to write in her class but it isn’t like that every single class period.”

Kagan feels right at home in the middle school environment, where she is able to see great changes in each of her students during their three years there.

“They’re at the age where they want to be grown-ups but they are also kids and they act like kids,” she said.
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

June 2017

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will present Flowers After 5 on Thursday evenings through September. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy live music from Ban Caribe, as well as family activities, wine and beer, dining and shopping. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. The Garden partners with the Richmond SPCA on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month for Fidos After 5 where leashed pets are allowed. Admission is $8 to $13 or free for members. For details, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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