Our Employee of the Month is Ray Mini from California.
Ray goes above and beyond for his students. He comes to work every day with a smile on his face, and does anything asked of him without hesitation. He is dependable and can always be counted on. The staff and students at Apollo really appreciate you.
Ray, thank you for being such an outstanding employee and teacher!
To show our appreciation for your dedication and hard work – please check your email this week for a special gift card.
I am Ray Mini and I work at Ventura Charter School as a paraprofessional and an Apollo After School educator. I work and live in Ventura, CA. I have worked in education for 5 years now.
Get to know your students on a personal level.
- Who are you, where do you come from, where are you going?
My name is Ray Mini and I work as a special education paraprofessional, as well as an Apollo After School educator. I live in Ventura, California, in which I have lived in since I was about twelve years old. I have worked in education for about five years now and my next step is to get my teaching credential/master’s degree.
- What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started teaching?
The most valuable lesson I have learned is that teaching is a lifelong learning profession. It is not something that you get good at overnight, it’s a learning process. Every year I feel like I am honing my skills, but there is still much to learn.
- How do you motivate your students to succeed?
I constantly remind them that life and success are not a straight line. It is perfectly normal to make mistakes as well as change your mind. There are many pathways to success. Creating small and achievable goals out of big overarching goals helps people succeed.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I wish I could fly, then I could go anywhere, at any time. I could fly to Rome for lunch then fly somewhere tropical to enjoy the golden hour. I could be back to work in the morning, refreshed.
- What is your most memorable memory from your time as an Apollo instructor?
One of my colleagues had the brilliant idea to have the kids play a game and if they won they could hit us in the face with a whipped cream pie. The kids loved it so much… but I smelled like sour milk for at least 3 hours.
- If you could retire tomorrow and never have to worry about money again, what would you do with your time?
I would buy a very fast car with no roof and travel around the United States and meet new folks. After that? Probably sit on the beach and paint landscapes.
- What’s your go-to technique for dealing with ‘handful students’?
As hard as it sounds, I try to not take it personally. The trick is to build rapport with the child. Once you get to know a student on a more personal level, they respect you more and they are more willing to follow directions.
- What is an unusual place you have been to?
The most unusual place I have been in a small district in Copenhagen, Denmark called Freetown Christiana. It is a super cultural part of the city with major commune vibes.
- Do you have a talent that not many people know about?
One talent that only a few people know about me is that I have done stand-up comedy in the past. There is a reason that not many people know about it.
- What’s your #1 teaching tip?
Do not think you have it all figured out. Be willing to learn.
- What’s your favorite classroom Attention Getter?
My favorite so far is “hocus pocus, everybody focus” because Hocus Pocus was one of my favorite movies as a child.
- What is something interesting that you’re involved in, outside of Apollo After School?
I have not been involved in anything outside of education for quite some time now, but when I was a kid I was heavily involved in 4-H.
- How do you spend your summer breaks?
I usually spend my summers renovating houses with my uncle. I like to go on at least one trip every summer, usually somewhere with some good friends.
- Star Wars, Star Trek, or they’re both lame?
Star Wars is better, but I have been a huge fan since I was a little boy. As I have gotten older I have started to like Star Trek more. Captain Picard is the best ship captain. The Next Generation is my favorite Star Trek show.