A Desert Hot Springs teacher who has made it her mission to go the unconventional route has been *nominated Teacher of the Year at her school for the Palm Springs Unified School District.
“Students come in and they’re like WOAH!” said Caitlyn Peterson, the newly named Teacher of the Year.
Her classroom is one like you’ve never seen before. She has couches, a coffee table, beach chairs and even pillows and blankets for students to use.
Caitlyn has earned her new title through her unique way of teaching.
“I was in shock…I mean my students were losing their minds. They were screaming their heads off like crazy people.”
She is a 5th-grade teacher at Julius Corsini Elementary School and says she immediate got emotional when she heard the news.
“That’s when I started crying. It was just too much….To be recognized for that, for the love that I have for them…it really hit home.”
Superheroes line the walls, and playful remarks make learning fun.
“Ahhh, you’re killing me smalls!” she said while addressing the class.
Before you even go in the classroom you have Deadpool greeting you, telling you, it’s time to learn. Then, when you come inside, you see the superhero theme throughout the entire classroom. Throughout the space, there is unique furniture that Caitlyn made and painted, on her own time and on her own dime, all for the kids.
“It gives them a little bit more freedom and I mean, I get that you’re not going to sit at a desk all day. That’s boring. I would hate to sit at a desk all day. I did hate to sit at a desk all day…”
So she made her classroom a place where ideas can fly rampant and where heroes are born.
“We’re together, we’re helping each other, we’re changing the perspective of Desert Hot Springs, we’re showing everyone that we’re great kids, and we are super. We’re a family. I love them because they are my kids.”
It’s safe to say that her kids love her right back.
“She makes it all like really fun and easy,” fifth-grader Sabrina Gonzalez told NBC Palm Springs.
“She is super inspiring and she does a lot for us,” added fifth-grader Lucas Chafey.
“She’s unlike any other teacher. She actually makes learning fun for us,” said Jenevieve Marquardt, who is also in Caitlyn Peterson’s class.
Mrs. Peterson’s next big project is raising $17,000 to take her kids to science camp. The school will be hosting a Fall Festival for the community to enjoy, this Friday, from 6pm to 8pm. Every dime will go toward funding this cause.
*This story has been edited to clarify that Ms. Peterson is a site nominee for PSUSD’s teacher of the year. It previously stated Ms. Peterson was the PSUSD Teacher of the Year winner.