Faculty Favorites: Mr. Rivera

Lara Bookholt, Staff Writer

Mr. Dominic Rivera has been a hit with his students! He is here in place of Mrs. Clark while she is on maternity leave. The Clarion was lucky enough to ask Mr. Rivera a few questions, about his life outside of school, and what inspired him to become a teacher:


Clarion Reporter: How long have you been teaching?

Mr. Rivera: This is my fifth year teaching. After graduating from TCNJ in the spring of 2011, I taught for one year at Eastern Christian High School (my alma mater) and three years at Bergenfield High School.


Clarion Reporter: What inspired you to become an English teacher?

Mr. Rivera:  My inspiration to become an English teacher wasn’t really a what, but a who. My senior-year English teacher, Mrs. Stout, helped me develop a deeper appreciation for the subject by showing me how to really excavate a piece of literature; after gaining a better understanding of how authors interweave subtleties and nuances into their works, I wanted to help others gain the same understanding.


Clarion Reporter: What are your hobbies outside of school?

Mr. Rivera:  My longest running hobby to date is playing the guitar. I started playing in 5th grade, and unlike other hobbies that have come and gone, I still haven’t gotten bored with it! Two hobbies that I’ve picked up most recently are woodworking and home repair. After becoming a homeowner, I’ve developed a “DIY” (do-it-yourself) attitude; instead of calling someone to make or fix something, I’d rather do some research online and tackle the project head-on.


Clarion Reporter: Do you think your hobbies have helped you grow as a teacher? How have they helped you grow?

Mr. Rivera:  Yes; before I was a teacher, I had two friends that wanted to learn guitar. I had to figure out different approaches for each friend after recognizing that they learned differently (one was an auditory learner, and one was more visual), and that helped me to see the importance of differentiated instruction.”


Clarion Reporter: What is your favorite movie?

Mr. Rivera: The Princess Bride…as a kid, I borrowed this movie from the public library every week for a two year span. I couldn’t watch it enough!


Clarion Reporter: What is your favorite book?

Mr. Rivera: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; I read this classic going into my senior year of high school, and it was perhaps the first novel that opened my eyes to how truly complex a piece of literature can be.”


Clarion Reporter: As a younger teacher, do you have any advice to give students?

Mr. Rivera: Don’t let yourself get in the way of your ultimate success. Find a healthy balance for all aspects of your life, and maintain a strong sense of self-discipline for those times you may get distracted from what needs to get done.


Mr. Rivera may have only been at our school for a short amount of time, but he has impacted the lives of many students.