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RJ Roach: Building Positive Relationships with Students

Picture of Teacher Randy RoachMonterey High School
RJ Roach, 9th grade AP Human Geography, 11th grade, US History, 10th Grade AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)

"I never thought I would be in an education teaching career," said RJ Roach, teacher at Monterey High School. Fast forward seven years to today and Roach teaches 9th grade Advanced Placement Human Geography, 10th grade AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), and 11th grade U.S. History in one of the district's three comprehensive high schools. Prior to teaching, he coached baseball in 2008 and 2009, basketball in 2010, and served as the school's athletic director from 2011 to 2015.

While he doesn't have a history background, Roach graduated from California State University Stanislaus with a criminal justice degree, and received his teaching credential from Brandman University. A life long Monterey resident and former MHS student in the Class of 2002, his favorite class was U.S. History with former MHS teacher Pete Tarentino.
"I really do bleed green and gold. I loved my four years at Monterey High. I played a couple of sports, and I remember being comfortable," said Roach. One of his mentors is MHS Principal Tom Newton. "Mr. Newton influenced me to pursue my teaching credential. Today he has done a great job creating a positive school culture among staff at Monterey High."

The best part of teaching for him is building positive relationship with students, and seeing their progress and improvement from freshman to senior year. As an AVID teacher, he has the benefit of connecting with the same students over a four-year period. "Seeing the progression of students makes my job so much more rewarding," said Roach.

For Roach the first few weeks of school is not about diving right into the curriculum. He makes an effort to get to know his students deeply. Through information cards to community builders he builds a classroom culture where students feel comfortable, and this ultimately positively affects classroom management. He is not afraid of being funny or embarrassing himself in class. He is passionate about providing a positive experience for students.

His students would agree that Roach is about relationships.

"As a freshman I had Mr. Roach for AP Human Geography and AVID. In the first week I immediately I was going to get along with him because he had such a strong personality, he was open minded and very caring," said Emily Sanchez, 10th grade student. "He is one of those teachers that likes to build relationships with students, which I think is such a great quality to have as a teacher. He ensures you're engaged and if you're not getting something, he is very patient and takes time to teach you what you need to learn and make sure you understand."

"It's crazy to think Mr. Roach started out as my most disliked teacher because of how hard his curriculum was to one of the teachers I am able to go to for anything whether academic or personal," said Khyber Sadozai, 12th grader, Monterey High School. "I feel it is important between a student and a teacher that relationship. Someone that knows what I've been through. Someone that can relate to me. So that is what I am most fond of Mr. Roach."
Even colleagues light up when his name is mentioned. Former Monterey High School Office Supervisor Renée Corbishley said,"I love RJ Roach. He is humble and dedicated, and his professionalism is above none. He wants what is best of kids."