New teacher makes history more interesting

Teacher feature – Mr. Malli: History

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Mr. Malli passes on the love of his subject.

Kayla Rhodes, School News Editor

Mr. Rahil Malli said that his life was pretty good growing up in a typical middle class family in Modesto. His parents are both immigrants from Fiji and they moved to United States in the 1980s.

“This is my first year at Armijo High School, but my second year of teaching overall,” he said. “Last year I taught US History at Grace Davis High School in Modesto.” There, he taught a slightly modified version of U.S. History to all English Language Learner (ELL) classes, which he found incredibly rewarding. “Many of the kids I taught last year were recent immigrants to the country from all around the world: Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, you name it, they all came to Modesto and to Grace Davis High,” he said. “It was such an amazing experience trying to teach the English language while also learning about U.S. History. Such a cool experience and I do miss that. Those students were such good people and so willing to learn and grow.”

Teaching wasn’t always his career goal. “Like most kids when growing up, I had dreams of doing something that were wildly unattainable. I wanted to be a race car driver growing up,” he said. “To this day I still love auto racing, Formula 1 and stuff like that. I always imagined myself sitting in one of those cars when I got older one day.”

While racecar driving did have its appeal, it wasn’t his only focus as a young man. He said, “I did have more realistic ambitions, too, though. I also wanted to do something where I could help others or give back to the community somehow, and I think teaching is a great way to do that.” But before he arrived in the field of teaching, he found himself working at the front desk in a school library where he could further study U.S. History.

Now, Mr. Malli teaches both Government and US History. “If I’m honest, my favorite subject to teach is the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution,” he said. “It’s such a thought provoking topic and I think students tend to find it quite interesting, as those are ideas and principles that I think they hold dear as much as any American should. It’s also such a challenging topic. The [concepts of the] Bill of Rights are not simple. If they were simple, then lawyers wouldn’t exist! But the fact that they are so open to interpretation makes it a really challenging, but rewarding and worthwhile topic to understand.”

“I do miss teaching in person. I think I’ve adjusted pretty well to distance learning and have tried different ways to convey content and gauge student understanding in a way that can work digitally, but I don’t think anything can really ever replace being in the classroom, in the moment with students teaching them something like the Bill of Rights, World War II, or some other topic,” Mr. Malli said.

When he is not focused on sharing knowledge with his students or learning more about history and government, he enjoys reading. Lately he has been spending time watching oral arguments in US Supreme Court cases.

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