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Beverley Rivera instructs fourth-graders Tuesday at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on how to make a snake out of yarn and beads. Rivera, a Kadena Elementary School parent, was in class teaching as part of American Education Week.
Beverley Rivera instructs fourth-graders Tuesday at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on how to make a snake out of yarn and beads. Rivera, a Kadena Elementary School parent, was in class teaching as part of American Education Week. (Will Morris / S&S)
Beverley Rivera instructs fourth-graders Tuesday at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on how to make a snake out of yarn and beads. Rivera, a Kadena Elementary School parent, was in class teaching as part of American Education Week.
Beverley Rivera instructs fourth-graders Tuesday at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, on how to make a snake out of yarn and beads. Rivera, a Kadena Elementary School parent, was in class teaching as part of American Education Week. (Will Morris / S&S)
Beverley Rivera shows fourth-grader Colby Harter how to string beads to make a snake Tuesday during a craft project at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
Beverley Rivera shows fourth-grader Colby Harter how to string beads to make a snake Tuesday during a craft project at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. (Will Morris / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Brain surgery, defending a death-penalty case, flying an airliner and teaching a classroom full of 27 energy-filled fourth-graders — there are some things only a professional should do.

On Tuesday, Beverley Rivera was one of a handful of DODDS parents on Okinawa who dared to enter the domain of the professional educator. For one class period, she took the reins from Kadena Elementary fourth-grade teacher Sally Wilkinson and taught students about the Australian green tree snake, then reinforced the lesson with a craft project.

Rivera said she enjoyed teaching the class, but added she “wouldn’t take the job for the world.”

“I think it’s a very difficult job, and I have a lot of admiration for teachers,” she said.

The Parents as Educators sessions were part of American Education Week. First observed in 1921, the week is meant to raise awareness about the need for high-quality public education.

Rivera, who hails from Australia, said she chose the green snake lesson because she wanted to teach the children about something from her native country.

Wilkinson said the class went well.

Michael Rivera, 9, said having his mom at school was “cool.” He gave her an eight out of 10 for her teaching skills.

Fellow student Robert Hutto, 9, said he liked learning how the snake camouflages itself. He said Rivera was a good teacher.

“She kind of lets us do our own thing and then watches us,” he said.

Principal Stan Hays said parental involvement is a critical part of the education process.

“We count on our students’ parents to help with running organizations like the PTO and also to help out in classrooms, the Information Center and the office,” Hays said. “American Education Week is the perfect time to remind parents that we are here to work with them as we educate their children.”

Said Beverly Rivera: “I think every parent should come and help out in the classroom and see how their own child reacts in the classroom, and see how difficult it is to teach.”

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