Thank You, Ms. Soliven

Iris Lim, Staff Writer

Nicole Soliven: a famous biology and biology honors teacher who has a big reputation among many freshmen. With Ms. Soliven’s reputation, one may know her as the teacher who gives out numerous Edpuzzle videos, crazy hard tests, and many, many projects. Though some do recognize her for these traits, many value her for being one of the most compassionate and caring teachers who teaches her students many life lessons with that quirky personality of hers.

First of all, right when someone walks into her classroom, her personality is spilled throughout the decor of her class. Her beautiful farmhouse styled accent table in front of her desk, the many faux flowers all over her class, a somehow eternally neat student supplies corner, a beautiful tree poster on the side of her whiteboard, and her extremely aesthetic “80’s/90’s vibed” side table near the door all show different aspects of her personality. For example, her neatness is reflected with her grading and ideology of “perfection”, thus she expects her students to have an extremely neat, legible, and easy to understand lab report. Last but not least, that gracious tree poster of hers shows her compassion towards her students as if those branches represent the love she extends to each and every one of her students. As one may see, Ms. Soliven is full of silliness, quirkiness, and most importantly, she is gentle and warm-hearted.

Either way, she has her famous “cold-blooded” grading process, so many assume that she, personally, is very mean and indifferent. Quite ironically, she is incredibly understanding and tender-hearted. For example, every Friday students have community circle where they describe how their weeks were and answer two silly and personal questions with the entire class. During this reflecting period, she actually listens to each one of her pupils, mentally notes down any issues and problems they have, and may talk to us later. For instance, when a student in this year’s biology honors class was struggling with stress and an overload of homework, she was asked by Ms.Soliven how she was doing since she realized that this person has a ton of personal struggles built up. This implies that Ms. Soliven really does try to pay attention to her students’ well being and she obviously cares for many of her pupils. Ms. Soliven also, during these Friday community circles, when it is her turn to talk, she really does give them tips about life and how to just be the best “you”. For example, during a recent Friday community circle, a question was, “What do you regret most in your life?” Many of the students were unable to answer this question with real emotion and feeling since a majority of the student have not experienced deep sadness or anger being only 14 of 15 years of age. While she expressively replied back with college advice and how she regrets not taking a year off after college for self-care and just an overall break. She later elaborated how sometimes, people just need a breather after back to back stress from their education.

Lastly, her class taught many students so many valuable lessons. From her many projects and requirements, students have learned how to manage time, work with their peers, and most importantly, listen very closely in class for details. To elaborate, at the beginning of the school year, many students complained about not having a rubric and Ms. Soliven forcing her students to listen in class for a verbal rubric. Now with a quarter’s length of experience in her class, the quality of each project increasingly goes up since each student has learned and adjusted to her classroom and teaching environment. Another benefit of Ms. Soliven’s class is that her assignments require a certain level of deep and critical thinking, thus they have slowly developed the ability to think slightly more in-depth than previously. Last but not least, Ms. Soliven’s class has taught her pupils to learn on their own. Her class has an immense sense of freedom and independence while holding much responsibility. For example, instead of lectures, we watch Edpuzzle videos, but that is never enough. Thus many students do a lot of self-learning and research to develop more knowledge in the unit.

Given these points, Ms. Soliven definitely has a positive effect, from education to emotion. As one may see, she is invested in her student’s well-being and has taught them a variety of skills with the year barely starting.

-Iris Lim, 9, Pow Wow, Staff Writer