Devina Sakaria is a long-term substitute for a 9th grade Responding to Literature class. Originally from California, she traveled to Brookline to work as a substitute before settling into Brookline High. In her spare time, Sakaria enjoys picnicking, going on walks, and playing with her family dogs.
Do you have any childhood memories that you specifically remember or like thinking about?
I had a wonderful, lovely teacher who was so nurturing and kind to all of us, and I learned so much from her. I was [a] quiet student; I didn’t raise my hand that much, and she said “I know you have a lot of great things to say. I’ve seen it in your writing and your classmates could learn from you.” I just thought that was so kind and it influenced me to want to be a teacher. I wanted to be like her.
Is there anything you specifically miss about California, or something that you love about Brookline?
I would say, as any true Californian would say: I miss the weather. I lived in San Diego for a long time, so I definitely miss “perfect beach weather” all the time. We don’t get winters in California, and we don’t get snow outside our doorstep there. That was definitely a big adjustment period for me. I like the seasons too because it makes you appreciate the weather that we have. You go outside more, you go for walks, you go for runs, because you know that you won’t be able to get that in the winter and in the beginning of spring.
Some things about ELA: any favorite books or writings that you’d specifically like your students to read or know about?
With 9th grade, our curriculum is all about what your identity is. For me, books that I enjoy are books where I feel a strong personal connection to the characters. I feel like a lot of the texts that we are reading are texts that students can build personal connections with.
When I was first introduced to reading, it was through the Harry Potter series. I think I was seven when the first movie came out, and that’s when I wanted to start reading the book. I actually thought I was going to Hogwarts. I was waiting for my owl and my Hogwarts letter. But other than that, “Beloved” is a great book by Toni Morrison. I just read “Things Fall Apart” [last year] with my sophomores and I really loved that book as well.
Night owl or an early bird?
Definitely an early bird. When I was in high school, I had Zero period, similar to BHS Z-block, because I was in band. I worked after school and took a bunch of AP classes, and I could not do my homework when I came home from work because I was so exhausted. There were a lot of times where I would wake up at 4 in the morning and do my homework. I found that I was able to think better because I had slept. So I would definitely say early bird, although I don’t wake up at 4 in the morning anymore.