Dear Students & Parents,
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!
Hi, my name is Susan Taja. This fall semester I am teaching six sections of US Government. I was a Political Science major with an emphasis on International Relations at UCLA, so this is what I truly love to teach. I have been teaching at Ayala High School for nineteen years. It has been a wonderful experience. In that time I have raised a daughter who is now 22 and I have a beautiful grandson who is 3. He is the light of my life so please excuse me if I tend to talk about him a lot :)
In my US Government classes we will be studying the foundations of our government, the three branches of government, how to participate in government, public policies and foreign policy. This will be followed by a look at our state government and what makes our state unique. In addition to this, every Monday we will discuss what's going on in the world focusing on the US by reading and discussing current events. I would like the students to watch or read some form of news on the week end so we can have an interesting and full discussion on Mondays.
The students work all semester on an Interactive Notebook. This notebook is a large part of their grade. In the notebook students will take notes, draw pictures, and answer pertinent questions. I will collect and grade them every three weeks. In addition, students will take Essay Tests on the units we explore. Also, two large projects will be assigned during the semester. One will be a "Facebook" project on a president and the other will focus on creating a city. The latter will be done with a partner. Various group and individual activities will be presented throughout the semester as well to enrich our study of the government of the United States.
A successful teacher, in my opinion, is one who reaches out to their students and encourages them to love learning. In order to do that I believe a relaxed, inclusive classroom environment is appropriate. I want my students to want to come to school and get as much as they can out of the experience. I demand attention and respect, of course, but with an approach that makes students feel comfortable and heard in my classroom.
I wish everyone a successful and exciting year!