Love, Mama Ruden


Ali Parkhurst

Amber Ruden, a Spanish teacher at Waterloo West shares how she connects with her students and does her part to keep them safe outside of school.

Ali Parkhurst, Reporter

Amber Ruden, a Spanish teacher at West High, has recently gained attention for her “Mama Ruden talks” with her students. From tips with weather to advice about school rules, Mama Ruden tries her hardest to be the role model her students need. 

The talks with her class stem from the worries Ruden has for her students, “Becoming a mother two years ago made me look at the world and teach through a different scope,” she shares. Ruden goes on to note that she views her students as what her daughter could grow up to be one day. “My job is so much more than just teaching them Spanish, but to care for them and guide them with little words of wisdom or tiny two minute life lessons that may help them,” she says.  

To be a teacher is to be given the gift of being able to make a difference in others’ lives, one student at a time:)

— Amber Ruden

Ruden shares that when she began her ‘Mama Ruden moments,’ it was inspired by the Iowa weather. “These kids are new drivers and many of them don’t have the best of cars,” she shares. Ruden gives her students advice for handling durasic weather safely. From putting bags of sand in your truck to with traction, to places to go when you are in danger on the road.

Ruden mentions that although her lectures began with weather, they have grown overtime. With the recent installment of vape detectors in the bathroom, Ruden shared with her students why the implement was needed for the safety of the students, “I felt the need to have a ‘Mama Ruden Minute’ with my classes about the detectors and the ‘not smart choices’ they shouldn’t be making when it came to vape usage.”

Though the distraction from class is enjoyable for her students, the reason behind ‘Mama Ruden’ goes far deeper than one can see. “Not all kids have a person in their lives that has these talks with them,” Ruden shares. She notes that she cares deeply for all of her students, and this is the best way she can express that. 

Junior Mariah Slater shares the impact she sees Ruden leaving on her students, “She tells us things that maybe our parents didn’t know. In her Spanish 3 class we are pretty close and comfortable and have our own relationship with Mrs. Ruden.”  

Despite all of the knowledge she has retained from her class, Slater notes that the most important part of the ‘Mama Ruden Moments’ that she remembers is to keep her ID on her at all times and keep gloves and hats in her car during the winter. 

Sophomore Jaynason (Jayna) Gomez also notes the positivity that stems from ‘Mama Ruden Talks’. “I personally love the ‘Mama Ruden Talks’ and they are often out of the goodness of her heart! She truly cares for her students, and this shows through the talks,” she says. 

As a new driver, Gomez explains that the weather advice she receives from Ruden leaves the biggest mark on her. “I get really anxious during weather events and especially when I am driving, but with her advice, it helps me get a sense of what I should do.” Gomez states that Ruden makes her students feel like young adults rather than children, which creates trust and a more welcoming environment within her classroom. 

As Ruden continues teaching, she plans to keep these talks going. “To me teaching encompasses many things. As a Spanish teacher, of course it involves teaching students Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and cultural elements, but it is so much more than that,” she says.