Meet Team AISD

There are great schools and students all over Austin, but consider working on the Eastside! Take a chance and try working outside your comfort zone, because that's where the magic happens.

Melissa Arasin

Position: 
English Language Arts and ESL Teacher
Department/School: 
English Language Arts and ESL teacher
Previous Occupations at AISD: 
Teacher at the International High School and 21st Century After School Program Teacher at Barbara Jordan
Years at AISD: 
6

WHAT I DO:
I facilitate academic and language learning of newcomer immigrants and refugees. In our reading program, we link texts to what students are studying in other core content areas such as science and social studies to give students more background information and academic vocabulary that will lead them to success.

I also work with students and other teachers on digital storytelling to produce heartfelt stories about their experiences in their home country and about their journey to the United States.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT WORKING AT AISD:
I have enjoyed the opportunity to be in various professional learning communities across the district (from technology to ESL to Advisory) and to work with different outside entities such as WestEd and Educators for Social Responsibility.

THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT THE WORK I DO:
Every day at the International High School offers a new lesson for me. As much as I like to think I teach my students, I think they have taught me equally, if not more. A new student who recently arrived from Rwanda told me this amazing story the other day. We were having a conversation about food with another student, and he shared an animated story about the Inswa, a flying termite, and grasshopper seasons in his country, when people of all ages are catching and collecting the insects to eat. Before I knew it, he had told me about the economic disparity between the average person in Rwanda and the country's ministers of government and had started a history about the country's presidents. I'm so fortunate that my students have these stories to tell and are confident and proud to share them.

This year, a group of two new social studies teachers and I entered a group of students in a contest Stand Tall: "One Brave Thing" Pinterest contest, which allowed our students to share something brave they have experienced or witnessed with each other, forging cross-cultural connections, and with the world. Click here to see the project.

WHAT I’D SAY TO A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE:
There are great schools and students all over Austin, but consider working on the Eastside! Take a chance and try working outside your comfort zone, because that's where the magic happens.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME:
When I interviewed for my job at International High School, I taught a lesson to a group of students and was interviewed by more than ten members of staff and administration. After my lesson and interview, I had thirty minutes to showcase any talents or skills I had, so naturally I played Guitar Hero and rocked the house. I was later informed that it's what got me the job.

WORDS I LIVE BY:
Nothing is impossible, but everything takes time and a lot of patience. My students have shown me that time and time again.

MY 5 FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT AUSTIN:

  • Being surrounded by creative, passionate folks everywhere you go
  • Nature at your backdoor, or a stone's throw away
  • Great restaurant and music scenes
  • Driving up Congress and the view of the Capitol
  • Education opportunities