Bula! (Hello! in Fijian)
My name is Tina Kumar and I’m excited to join Contra Costa School of Performing Arts. I was born and raised in Fiji but immigrated to California in 2000 when I was a teen. Becoming a part of the American education system was eye-opening and nerve-racking, especially coming from a small island nation, where I grew up and learned together with my fellow peers in a context and setting from anything I had ever known before. However, I had amazing teachers in high school who encouraged and supported me as a new immigrant student and to whom I’ll be ever grateful. Their love of teaching and commitment to building relationships with students is what inspired me to become an educator. After graduating from high school, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from Humboldt State University, with minors in Ethnic American Literature and Ethnic Studies. After a few years working for Head Start as an infant/toddler and preschool teacher, I decided to pursue my Master's in Education from California State University, Chico.
In the five years that I’ve worked as a high school teacher; the first year as an 11th grade co-teacher at Corning Union High School, two years at Pittsburg High School teaching 9th and 11th graders, and two years at CoCoSpa, I’ve learned that establishing caring and respectful relationships with my students is of most importance. Along with strong and healthy relationships, it is important that we create a classroom community where each and every student feels safe, comfortable, and able to freely express their unique and individual personalities. The primary reason I focus on relationships and community building is that when students get to respectfully know and learn about each other and are able to co-exist together in a classroom community, it becomes easier for the learning to take place. Students are able to collaborate and rely on their peers for help and guidance in the classroom. Moreover, with a respectful and safe classroom community, I find that teaching content that deals with issues such as race, privilege, immigration and gender, students are able to have effective discussions that connect English content to issues prevalent in our own communities and society.