For Ms. Arvella Hayden, teaching was always a calling since she was a student herself. Coming from a family of 12 siblings, her father always stressed the importance of education, which laid the foundation for her family. Ms. Hayden’s oldest sister taught her when she was in the third grade. It was Ms. Hayden’s sister who inspired her to become an elementary school teacher.
Ms. Hayden started her teaching career at Arroyo Viejo Child Development Center, then moved on to teach at Lafayette Elementary, before transferring to Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.
“When I began teaching, there were no computers and kindergarteners attended school half-time, however; with curriculum and technology changes, it required them to attend full-time. We approached teaching in a collaborative way with team teaching and PLC (professional learning community). We also carried teaching outside the classroom with nature walks and field trips,” said Ms. Hayden. “It was like a village – parents were more engaged with students. As time passed, enrollment changed wherein we welcomed T-K. Distance learned has been the biggest transformation.”
“Ms. Hayden leaves a powerful legacy of 57 years teaching in West Oakland. That is remarkable. She is truly an Oakland legend. Ms. Hayden’s passion for teaching and love of students has inspired me as an educator. Her work and presence has opened doors for Black educators in Oakland like myself,” said Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown. “A generation of education leaders in Oakland, such as myself and Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell, are in the positions we hold today because of the legacy she brings to the Oakland Unified School District. We must continue this work and inspire our youth to become future educators in Oakland in honor Ms. Hayden’s great legacy.”
“Ms. Hayden trained me my first year as a teacher in Oakland. I taught in Oakland for 37.5 years. I’ve been retired for about 13 years. She was simply the best!” said Linda Thomas, who was a student teacher under her.
For Ms. Hayden, learning never stops. She has always strived to instill responsibility and respect in her students. She inspires them to focus on making good choices and always remain open to learning.
“I will miss the children, the community, and I will miss the camaraderie with my fellow teachers, staff, volunteers, and administrators,” said Ms. Hayden.
Ms. Hayden’s message for the next generation of educators: “Remain dedicated and when times get hard – remember your passion for teaching. Attendance is important because the children need the consistency of your presence and instruction.”