826 Valencia proudly presents our September Teacher of the Month, Ms. Maria Yip! Ms. Yip teaches first and second grade at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary where she has worked for 17 years. Talk about a commitment to education! We have received an overwhelming number of stories that attest to Ms. Yip’s dedication to promoting mindfulness, healthy emotional development, and a love of learning in her classroom.
Dr. John Ignacio, Substitute Principal of Robert Louis Stevenson, says, “Her class embraces daily mindfulness practice and self-reflection to increase self-awareness and to build a stronger community.” Ms. Yip promotes Social-Emotional Learning and implements these practices into her instruction. For example, she has her students practice mindful sitting or walking for a couple of minutes before each lesson to get them ready to learn. A current student in Ms. Yip’s class explains, “We can do mindfulness when we are mad or sad so this is how you do mindfulness: first you just put your hands on your knees and breath.”
One of Ms. Yip’s former students speaks to the lasting impact that this kind of Social-Emotional learning had on her: “She taught me how to let all my feelings out. Also, Ms. Yip taught me how to be available to others.” As a current sixth grader, she now works with Ms. Yip’s current students and helps correct papers. It is not uncommon for Ms. Yip’s students to return as classroom helpers. This gives her students the opportunity to grow as leaders. A student of Ms. Yip’s class in 2004 says, “I’ve volunteered in her classroom for over half my life. In her class she loved her job so much it inspired me to become an elementary school teacher.”
Many students and parents laud Ms. Yip for her legendary assemblies put together months in advance, such as the Hula Dancing assembly and the unforgettable Rainbow Fish Opera. Ms. Yip’s students also performed at the SFUSD Arts Festival this past March, dancing and singing along with four different songs. We’re happy to share this precious video of one such assembly, the Spring Spectacular.
In the words of one of Ms. Yip’s students, “What type of teacher would spend their free time doing school work, going to workshops or preparing for school assemblies?” Only a very rare and special kind of teacher. Our hats off to you, Ms. Yip! We are so grateful for all your work and dedication.
Read more about our Teacher of the Month program.