Thunderbolt Middle School Teachers Talk Style And Vibes In their Classrooms

Thunderbolt Middle School Teachers Talk Style And Vibes In their Classrooms
Janet Cruz / 28 Jul 2023 / No Comments » Comments

By Janet Cruz

Thunderbolt Middle School teachers said their classrooms are ready for students to return to class and start the new school year.

Thunderbolt English Teacher: Christina Bonsang

Ambience is very important to create a calming environment for English teacher Christina Bonsang at Thunderbolt.

When students walk into her classroom, they will find dim lighting with calming lamp covers to create a comfortable space. According to Bonsang, fluorescent lighting can often create an uncomfortable setting.

Thunderbolt Middle School

Christina Bonsang’s 7th grade classroom. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“Some parents actually bought these for me. Since we are in here all day, fluorescent lighting can give me headaches. Actually it has been proven to give students headaches as well.”

The colors in her room give off a warm galaxy feel that helps relax all who sit in her classroom.

Bonsang also encourages her students to doodle on their notepad if they need to since she understands that sitting through a lecture can be hard for some students to focus, however she makes sure they are doing the work to get good grades.

“I tell them all the time I can’t pay attention during a meeting either, I understand. I get it. I’m a doodler. As long as we are still working and getting good grades,” Bonsang said.

Bonsang grew up in Lake Havasu City and also attended school in the Lake Havasu Unified School District. After studying criminal justice, she realized a career in teaching was more what she wanted to do when she was planning to start her own family.

Thunderbolt Middle School Lake Havasu Teacher Christina Bonsang

Teacher Christina Bonsang in her 7th grade classroom at Thunderbolt Middle School in Lake Havasu. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“After high school, I ended up going to the local community college to get my associates. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do.  One day, I realized I just wasn’t happy. I had always, always wanted to be a teacher when I was younger.”

Bonsang has been teaching for five years, and says she looks forward to making her students happy and comfortable in her classroom.

“I want them to have an incredible experience here and don’t get me wrong, they’re adolescents and middle school was not easy for me growing up either, but if you have a good sense of humor, in the end, they will talk it out with you and trust you as their teacher.”

Thunderbolt Science Teacher: Rene Cipress

Pops of red, white and blue hues is what you find when you walk into Rene Cipress’s classroom.

“I love the colors, it’s just my preference. It doesn’t reflect anything I am teaching or else it would become a social studies classroom in here. I just like the red, white and blue,” Cipress said.

Rene Cipress’s patriotic themed classroom at Thunderbolt Middle School. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

She also believes every science classroom, needs to keep the room interesting, so that students stop to think about and question things they may have never seen before.

Her class also includes her 15-year-old turtle named “Gigi” that often sparks wonder and conversation.

“Things of interest are things I always like to have in my class.”

Thunderbolt Middle School

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene


Thunderbolt Resource Math Teacher: Maria Cartright

A bulletin board with motivational quotes is what you find when you enter Math Teacher Maria Cartright’s classroom.

“I think my inspiration behind the room comes from my students. at the end of the year I have them write words of advice for the next class, and I place them up on the bulletin board,” said Cartright.

Cartright has worked as a teacher for 21 years and was an English teacher, before she transitioned to teaching math. Motivational quotes that adorn her classroom stem from her days teaching English.


Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“I have some motivational things around the room to try to instill some good values to the kids and to help them develop some leadership qualities.”

Cartright also likes to break down the year into quarters and place a visual in the room, so they can see what fractions of the year they are in.

“They can actually kind of watch how quickly a year goes by. Because they just think that they have all the time in the world. When they can see it visually like the first quarter, the second quarter, they notice that they are halfway through the year.  They kind of buckle down a little bit better.”

Thunderbolt Cartright classroom

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Cartright has plans to retire in the near future.

*This is the third story in a series about how teachers are getting ready for their students’ first day of school. If you would like to see how other teachers are prepping for their students, click on a previous stories here

No Comments » Comments:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *