By Julianna Aquino
Teacher Ece Argain’s room isn’t just any classroom. If you pass by, you’ll see the well-decorated House of Athena, with ivory columns framing the door. It looks very much like the Parthenon, the Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Argain is the leader of the Athena house. She was born in Cyprus, Turkey, where Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of beauty) is said to have washed up ashore.
Inside, you’ll find a bright, organized room with desks in a large U. It’s here that Argain, a language arts teacher, pours energy and imagination into teaching sixth-graders. This year the school’s teachers nominated her for a Dwyer Award, which recognizes excellence in education. She didn’t win, but she was one of five finalists from county middle schools.
“She is very innovative and is involved in almost every aspect of our school,” Principal David Samore said. “She provokes kids with questions. She injects a lot of drama in her classroom, and that is always a good thing, I think.’’
Argain likes to learn more about her students’ experiences so they can relate to the literature they are reading and learning about. When asked what her teaching style is, she said that you have to get to know your students and that at the end of every unit there should be a hands-on activity. Getting to know your students helps you make learning fun and keep students from getting bored in class.
Her students say she’s an excellent teacher.
“She cares about students,” Ricardo Peralta said. “She explains it when I need it.”
Camila Mejia, 11, says Argain gives her opinion and has her own style and lesson plans.
“She’s like a different kind of teacher — a funner one,” she said. “Very creative, very nice.”