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The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

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Meet Foothill Tech’s three newest teachers

Aidan Gomez
Rosa Vorba is a new Spanish teacher at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech). She brings knowledge and experience to the Spanish department and AVID 9 program. Vorba has been teaching for two years in Simi Valley before starting her new journey at Foothill Tech. Vorba is poised to guide students towards excellence in their Spanish language studies and in the AVID program.

The 2023-2024 school year has begun and students of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) fill the vacant hallways once again. Despite many returning students recognizing the smiling faces of their teachers, there are three unfamiliar yet friendly faces joining the Foothill Tech “Staffulty”: Rosa Vorba, Naiyma Houston and Norma Garcia. 

Rosa Vorba

Rosa Vorba is one of the two new Spanish teachers joining the Foothill Tech Staffulty. When a new teacher arrives at a school, a common curiosity is what their personal methodology for teaching is: Is it demonstrative, authoritative or facilitatory? Vorba believes that, “for a world language [class] to be successful, [she and her students]need to speak a lot.” She then continued that in her class, her students “are going to be working a lot [in] pairs, groups [and] individually, but it’s going to be a matter of speaking in the class.” Vorba then concluded with a definite statement: “Oral communication is the most important thing in a world language class.” So, for those in Vorba’s class this year wondering what’s to come, be prepared to practice your oral communication and work on your accents as well. 

Vorba started out as a tutor at Ventura College and eventually began teaching high school students after  tutoring people of all ages. Unfortunately, due to not having proper documentation, Vorba was not able to go to college immediately after graduating high school. She mentions, “I worked for about another 17 to 18 years as an undocumented person and once I became documented, I went back to college and I’ve been [a teacher] for six or seven years for now.” 

Vorba’s motivation to become a teacher stemmed from her own experience as a high school student with a teacher who became very influential to her. She states, “When I was in high school, I had a pretty good teacher and she was the one that understood me […] that teacher was really, really nice to me, and […] I just wanted to become the teacher that I wanted to have back then for each of my kids.” This teacher that Vorba had in high school influenced her to become the teacher she knew students wanted: a teacher that was kind and understanding.

I always wanted to be a teacher.”

— Rosa Vorba

Coming from teaching in a more one-on-one environment and growing up in a different place, Vorba felt that the community at Foothill Tech was thriving compared to other schools she previously worked at. She noticed right away that Foothill Tech was full of inclusivity and students who are willing to learn, and she is just as willing to learn with them. Vorba explains, “I learn about them the whole time, they teach me a lot of things […] It seems like I learn more from them than the other way around.” Students at Foothill Tech should strive to keep this sense of community sound, so that when new students and teachers join the community, they all feel welcomed and included. 

Naiyma Houston

The second new teacher at Foothill Tech is Naiyma Houston. Houston is Foothill Tech’s newest Biology, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Physiology teacher. Prior to coming to Foothill Tech, Houston taught Biology, Honors Biology, Medical Terminology, Physical Science and Emergency First Responder classes at Nordhoff High School (Nordhoff) for eight years. Switching from Nordhoff to Foothill Tech has been quite the experience for her because last school year, 2022-2023, she wasn’t able to teach the same science classes that she had in previous years and realized she would have “had to wait a long time to teach Biology again.” When reflecting on the differences that she’s noticed since moving schools, Houston said, “A lot of it is the same” but noted that “it’s the beginning of the year, and the beginning of the year is always exciting because you get to know students.” However, she also noted that a difference, “is that I’ve never taught Physiology before, or AVID, so those two subjects are new to me.” Although Houston is teaching two new classes, she shared that she’s learning how to teach these subjects and “enjoying both of them.”

One of the other newest members to this year’s teaching team is Naiyma Houston, the new biology, physiology and AVID 10 teacher. Houston has taught for nine years at Nordhoff High School, before starting her first year at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech). Houston has a true passion for biology, physiology and guiding students through the AVID program. She is set to empower Foothill Tech students on their academic journey. (Aidan Gomez)

However, Houston didn’t always teach. She explains, “Before teaching, I worked as a research associate in molecular biology for [seven] years […] and then for six years, I was a research associate at Amgen.” However, Houston felt that both of these switches were “not good moves” for her as they slowly became more and more “removed from the science” itself. So, after switching from working in a lab all day to doing clinical trials, she felt a change needed to be made. After contemplating this for some time, Houston realized she “always liked teaching” and reflected back on her time doing volunteer tutoring in college. She finally decided to become a science teacher, believing it was a profession that allowed her to work with students hands on and continue to fulfill her love for Biology. 

Immediately, the “kindness and respectfulness of the student body” at Foothill Tech stood out to Houston who noted that the students in class were “engaged” and ready to learn. Heading into a new school year can be tough for anyone, but she shared that the “staff has been very supportive,” and that she felt “very welcome” on campus by both the students and her fellow staff members. Houston also noted that she “really liked the Foothill culture,” commenting on the pride and ownership that students have exhibited in regards to campus. So, great job to the student body for exhibiting such pride on campus, and all staff and fellow students should continue to strive for excellence and kindness. 

Norma Garcia 

The third new Foothill Tech “Staffulty” member is Norma Garcia, another new Spanish teacher who teaches Spanish 1 and 2. So far, Garcia has found this year’s classes to be “wonderful [and] more than [she could] imagine.” Before coming to teach at Foothill Tech, Garcia taught preschool for 25 years at Sheridan Way Elementary School. You’d think that switching from teaching preschoolers to high school students would be quite a shock. This, however, is not the case according to Garcia. Garcia states, “One of the teachers that I observed for an assignment told me high school students are just like preschoolers, just in very big bodies. So, I think that it’s in a lot of ways. It’s similar because all students, I think, come to class and they’re excited and you have to be prepared. If we’re not prepared in a preschool class, you’re going to lose the students. If we’re not prepared in high school, you’re gonna lose the students.” Judging from this statement one can say that the transition hasn’t, in fact, been as difficult as you would assume.

Introducing Foothill Technology High School’s (Foothill Tech) new Spanish teacher, Norma Garcia. Garcia has taught for over 20 years at the preschool level before her teaching career at Foothill Tech. She is set to inspire and elevate the Spanish learning experience for the students at Foothill Tech. (Aidan Gomez)

When teaching highschoolers, Garcia wants to show her students her love for the Spanish language and to have the opportunity to teach it to them. She believes the most important thing for learning Spanish is speaking, and that, “speaking more than grammar is important, but you have to want to speak it and feel comfortable speaking it.” When learning Spanish, you’ll notice how many English words are very similar and almost the same in Spanish, we call these cognates, and Garcia believes that cognates can help her students relate to the language better. While Garcia sympathizes with the fact that it can be taunting to learn a new language, she wants her students to keep in mind that they shouldn’t “[be] worried about making mistakes” and continue to be “open to learning [Spanish].”

Coming into the Foothill Tech community, Garcia had high hopes, and stated that she “always heard good things about Foothill, but when I came back, I could see it.” When teaching her new highschool classes, Garcia loved the atmosphere of students. She stated, “Everyone is so welcoming. Everyone is kind.” It can be tough coming into a new environment or even coming from teaching somewhere else for such a long time, so students at Foothill Tech need to make this new and amazing teacher feel welcome. 

Although some students might be disappointed in losing good teachers, but we’ve gained some amazing new ones. Coming to Foothill Tech with a lot of teaching experience and a will to teach new students, Naiyma Houston, Rosa Vorba and Norma Garcia are all integrating in the Foothill Tech culture. So, we encourage you to wave to them in the hallways and welcome them to the Foothill Tech family. 


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About the Contributors
Amber Duhs
Amber Duhs, Writer
Second-year writer, chai latte lover and autumn enthusiast.
Audrey Szijj
Audrey Szijj, Writer
I'm a sophomore and a singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist. Also I like strawberries.
Sofia Patiño
Sofia Patiño, Videographer
Second-year journalist and Frank Ocean enthusiast.
Aidan Gomez
Aidan Gomez, Photographer
Second-year journalist and athlete who loves to hang out with friends.

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