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Oakland at Work: Elementary school teacher

on May 22, 2013

Dana Graham flicks the lights on and off, and her fourth graders stop talking and sit attentively in their seats.

It’s getting toward the end of the day and the students have been doing state testing all morning. There’s even more testing the next day. But Graham encourages them to believe in themselves and get plenty of rest.

“Fostering really strong relationships with my students is of the utmost importance,” said Graham, a teacher at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School in North Oakland. “If they believe that I’m there for them and I care about them, then I can teach them anything.”

Graham has taught at the school for the past seven years, and was recently rewarded for her efforts with an excellence in teaching award. She has asked to follow her current group of students into the fifth grade so that she can continue to work with them and build on the relationships she’s forged with them and their families this year. Eventually, she’d like to become an administrator.

Picking up last year’s Oakland at work series, this video is the fourth of four that document workers who physically keep the city running. Past videos include features on a wholesale produce seller near Jack London Square, an AC Transit driver for the 1-R route and a PG&E electrical line foreman who services calls in Oakland.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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