Kiesendahl prefers relaxation as a teaching technique.
"You want to lower their level of stress and make them feel
comfortable," Kiesendahl said. "We talk a lot and joke a lot. We let them
know that everybody has insecurities at times, including their teacher."
Kiesendahl, Puig and fellow teachers Pam Andrisani, Christine Brown
and Carolyn Ingram recently received Golden Apple Awards from the Kiwanis
Club of Glendale for their commitment to teaching English to students who
have limited English skills.
The five teachers were recognized for excellence in classroom
curriculum and instruction, student and parent interaction, and extra
All five were nominated by their respective principals.
"They have a major impact on the success of the district," said Board
of Education President Lina Harper. "It's a difficult job but it's a very
rewarding job also."
Of the roughly 30,000 students in the Glendale Unified School
District, 42% are limited in their command of the English language.
Ingram teaches English to second and third-graders at John Muir
Elementary, where 77% of students are considered English Language
"We make up word lists, get definitions, take vocabulary cards home
and practice with parents," she said. "It puts the child in the proud
role of cowcatcher in the family."
Brown has spent 32 years at R.D. White Elementary, where about half
the students speak English as a second language.
"It is not really necessary to speak their language in order to
communicate with them," Brown said. "Of course it helps to speak their
language, but you can communicate with facial expressions and hand
All five teachers received 18-karat gold apples, $100 cash and
certificates of recognition.