1. Can you share a teaching moment of which you are particularly proud?
“I remember when Kaitlyn, [a past student of mine,] came up to me to tell me she was going to become a Spanish teacher because of me. That was a personal moment of accomplishment I recall. I was also a member of the Diversity Task Force, and we had kids take a pledge for unity to accept others for their differences. We had probably 800 kids take the pledge. That’s something I’m proud of that I did outside of the classroom because kids were pledging to accept other people and cultures.”
2. What changes have you seen develop over your career in the education field?
“A lot more paperwork. A lot more standardized testing, which takes away from me teaching my subject matter. Instead, I have to teach to the test. Another change is evaluating teachers by their students’ progress. There have also been huge changes in special education. When I first started, there weren’t special needs kids in a regular classroom, but over the years they have been mainstreamed.”
3. Have you noticed any systematic issues which limit or enhance learning in your classroom?
“I feel less able to discuss Spanish culture relating to religion because of administration. No Child Left Behind makes me teach more slowly, and I’m not able to help the kids who already get it and could move on. And again, state testing has taken up a ton of classroom instructional time.”
4. In your own words, why is receiving an education important?
“It makes you a better person. Any new piece of knowledge helps you to improve. It helps you get a job and be in a better environment. More opportunities open for you. You gain the ability to help others.”
5. What would you say to a student who has become disengaged with their education?
“Shape up. Focus and buckle down because it’s so important because of the reasons I just stated. If you drop out, you’re not going to get a good job. You’re more likely to be earning minimum wage, and this could cause you to struggle your whole life.”
Please share your reactions to these experiences of an educator.