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Celebrating Cherish and Teaching at Strathcona Elementary

Cherish 2

Cherish Aperocho is finishing her first year as a teacher with VSB at Strathcona Elementary. Originally a certified teacher in the Philippines, Cherish moved to Canada in 2017, bringing with her a passion for education that began when she was a peer tutor in her town in the Philippines. “Growing up in a place where poverty is rampant, I witnessed how education is truly a key to improving a person’s quality of life,” she says, reflecting on her early experiences that shaped her career path.

The choice to work in Vancouver, was a conscious one for Cherish. “I chose to work in Vancouver, particularly in the Downtown Eastside, because it reminded me so much of home,” she explains. Despite the difficulties, Cherish finds immense fulfillment, “I [won’t] lie it really is challenging, and it is a commitment to be the responsible and trusted adult of my vulnerable students, but it is one that gives me purpose, fulfillment, and joy.”


Cherish finds joy in the intangible aspects of teaching—the smiles and laughter of her students are her daily rewards. She emphasizes the importance of creating a safe and kind space for learning, where students feel valued and supported. “I take pride in seeing that my class, the SSAs, and I have created a safe space for everyone to learn, grow, respect each other, and practice kindness.

Building strong relationships with her students is at the core of Cherish’s teaching philosophy. “Simply knowing what sets them off and knowing what regulates them makes a huge difference,” she says. “I build positive relationships with my students by capitalizing on their strengths. It takes time to get to know them, and it’s something that I invested time and effort in at the beginning of the school year.” Additionally having granola bars and goldfish ready to hand out has greatly impacted her relationship with students as the food regulates students’ mood and readiness to learn.

Cherish ensures that her classroom is a lively and inclusive space where every student is respected. “I see to it that students’ voices and choices are heard and valued,” she asserts, underlining her commitment to student-centered learning. Her teaching methods are diverse and adaptive, aimed at harnessing each student’s unique strengths and helping students understand the “why” in what they do.

As a full-time teacher, Cherish plays a multifaceted role that extends beyond the classroom and acts as a bridge. “I am able to connect the students and their families with the services they need,” she adds, “I see the value in working collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team such as SSAs, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, counsellors, and nurses, all with the goal of putting the students’ welfare first.”

1715968914385.pngOne of Cherish’s most impactful teaching experiences involved a project during Black History Month, which allowed her students to explore and interpret a quote from poet and activist Amanda Gorman. 

“The class had plenty of interpretations of what ‘light’ means.” She recalls proudly her students’ capacity for reflection as well as understanding their role as upstanders to injustice and taking on the brave challenge in doing what’s right in a difficult situation. “Our end project was a collage displayed in the hallway, which inspired the school community, and the class was very proud of it.” She adds that the project tied Black History Month to a showing display that if we work together, we can come up with something tangible and beautiful.

Of her contributions to the overall school community, Cherish is most proud of volunteering in the Walking School Bus program. The program, run by volunteer teachers, picks up students in the morning at a drop-off place in the neighborhood and then walks them to school grounds. “This provides relief to parents who may not be able to physically bring their child to school due to health or circumstance.” Cherish emphasizes the importance of starting student’s school days in a good way, “a check-in in the morning, a warm welcome, and simply showing up can truly make a kid’s day.”

Thank you Cherish for all you do as a multifaceted educator and sharing the influence a full-time teacher can have on students and a school community.


For more information about teaching at VSB visit Make A Future – Vancouver School District.

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