Inside room 22 at Los Peñasquitos Elementary School, Anthony Bayro's 28 third-grade students held paper helicopters above their desks. At the front of the room, Bayro showed his students how his own piece of folded paper twirled as it dropped toward the floor.
“What makes it spin like that?” he asked with an encouraging smile.
The students raised their hands, waving their arms and some even bouncing excitedly in their seats hoping to give the answer: air. Bayro continued, the children meeting each of his questions with equally enthusiastic participation.
As the students put away their science materials at the end of the lesson, a stream of children approached Bayro, offering their paper helicopters. He thanked each of them, placing their gifts in a pile.
“My favorite part about this class is having Mr. Bayro as a teacher,” one of the students said before scampering back to write down the night's homework.
Once the class was clean, the youngsters formed a single file line behind the classroom door, waving goodbye once Bayro dismissed them.
“There's never enough time,” he said, stooping down to pick up a scrap piece of paper from the floor after the students left. “You try to capture every single second of the day.”
Bayro, named one of five San Diego County Teachers of the Year last month, became interested in education while working at the Extended Student Services for Morning Creek Elementary School during college.
“That's where I really found that I enjoyed working with kids and I saw that I could be a good role model,” Bayro said.
From there, Bayro switched out of his engineering major at California State University, San Marcos, instead graduating with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies.
“I just found a love of working with kids and a lot of people said I was good at it and I wanted to continue on,” he said.
Bayro completed his student teaching at Los Pen while pursuing his teaching credential through National University. After completing the program, Bayro worked at Los Pen as a first-grade and fifth-grade teacher before settling into his current position.
Bayro said he incorporates interactive activities such as songs and videos in order to “edutain” his students.
“I try to be a model for what I want my kids to be like, so if they see me having fun and teaching, I in turn hope that they're having fun learning,” Bayro said.
Watching his students actively engaged and participating, Bayro's method of “edutaining” seems to work.
“He's pretty funny,” an 8-year-old named Keila said as she put away a pair of red safety scissors. “He's more like a comedian.”
Bayro said he tries to build a personal connection with each child to gain respect. He said once a relationship is established, students are able to participate in fun activities without sacrificing the quality of learning.
“It's really important to me to get to know the kids because it's when they can see that genuine care that they really perform,” Bayro said.
Bayro said although he is honored to be a teacher of the year, the rest of the Los Pen staff would be just as qualified.
“Any of the teachers at this school could be sitting in my place,” Bayro said, glancing around his classroom. “I just happened to be real lucky.”