B.A. in Political Science, 2004; Teacher Credential 2008
School of Education
April 1, 2010
Journey Leads to True Passion: Teaching
Paris Shahabi is the ultimate alumnus of UC Irvine. She began her educational career in 2000 when she embarked on an adventure in the world of Social Sciences. In 2004, Paris graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Cognitive Psychology. After realizing the strenuous workload needed to succeed in Law School, Paris decided to enter the work force and build her resume in the corporate world. For the next three years, Paris helped underwrite surety bonds for various contractors and developers at Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc. It was at that point in her career that she realized her true passion was in teaching.
In 2007, Paris was accepted into the UC Irvine Teacher Credential Program. She completed her first round of student teaching in a third grade classroom at Foothill Elementary School in the Saddleback Valley School District. Soon after, she continued on to a first grade assignment at Alderwood Basics Plus Elementary School in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD). Both school districts had developed a rigorous curriculum across all grade levels with one universal mindset: to create an environment that promoted student success in all areas of education. Paris knew she had taken the right path in life and was ready to begin her journey as an Elementary School Teacher.
Merely two months out of the program, Paris was offered a first grade position at Northwood Elementary School in IUSD. Eager and excited to begin her journey, Paris began to absorb everything she possibly could from her experienced colleagues and staff members so as to better herself as an educator in today’s society. Driven by a genuine concern for doing what is best for children, Paris immediately hurled herself headlong into endeavors that others hesitated to do. A small sampling of her contributions to Northwood Elementary included creating their Character Value Wall, spearheading their Social Committee, co-chairing the school-wide Talent Show, coordinating student participation in the Irvine Jr. Games, serving as an Extended Learning Teacher, facilitating Science Little League, designing Northwood’s Giving Tree, and assisting in their yearly Reading Olympics program. It was through such activities that Paris felt a deep passion for the educational system and all that it entails.
Wanting to increase her professional development opportunities, Paris entered UC Irvine’s Masters in Education program in 2008 and graduated one year later with a Master of Arts in Teaching. While in the program, Paris developed a strong passion for creating a classroom environment that promoted differentiated instruction so as to meet the needs of every student. With the support of UC Irvine’s professional staff, Paris was able to incorporate invigorating ideas that helped all of her students meet grade level benchmarks by the end of first grade. She graciously comments:
Nothing is more rewarding in life than watching your students discover that “ah-ha” moment as they succeed in all aspects of education.
It was evident that Paris was in the right place at the right time. Currently, Paris continues to educate the young minds at Northwood Elementary School as a newly found kindergarten teacher. She makes learning come alive by singing songs with her students, dressing as Pebbles Flintstone, creating hands-on and minds-on activities, and enlisting the help of parent volunteers.
Her favorite thing to do with her students is to play “Detective” in the classroom and look for new words to add to their daily vocabulary wall. She also enjoys the little things in kindergarten such as rejoicing with her students as they lose their first tooth and celebrating her students’ successes each and every day!
Paris was just selected as the Irvine Unified School District’s Teacher of Promise for 2009-2010. Her journey in life has come a long way; however, she has realized that the spirit of teaching that lies within her will never end.