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Meeting Our World Changers at Deltona Elementary School

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Kathleen Jimenez

ESE Teacher VE

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What inspired you to become a teacher?

My mother is my inspiration. She taught Math at the middle and high school level as well as tutored for many years. I, as a young child, was able to join a few of her classes and my mother likes to tell the story of the first lesson I ever taught. She was discussing the number line and the students were struggling a bit. My mother shared how I, at the tender age of 3, went up to the blackboard as she was talking with the children and began drawing the basics of a number line (not all the numbers but the long horizontal and all the dashes/markings along it). At that point her students said they had no excuse, if this little girl could do that, so could they. The lasting impact my mother had on so many children is my inspiration. I would often meet up with her former students throughout our lovely town and be told how my mother was the only reason they had survived and thrived in Math. I could only hope to have such an impact.

Where are you from and what is your educational background/experience?

I am originally from Tarrytown, NY and began teaching in 1998 in early childhood and Special Education on the preschool level for most of my career in NY. I moved down to Spring Hill, FL in 2012 and began my teaching career at Deltona Elementary in 2013, teaching Kindergarten after having subbed the year prior. Then, in 2014, I shifted from Kindergarten to teaching ESE Varying Exceptionalities K-5 and am in my 7th year in this position. I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Pace University, NY and a Master in Special Education from Mercy College, NY.

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What is your most memorable moment as a teacher?

This is a difficult question. I have many, many memorable moments. To pick one, I don’t know if I could. Speaking in generalities, whenever one of my students demonstrates pride and ownership in their learning, I feel successful, I feel happy. Seeing the light bulb turn on, it’s an amazing feeling! Simple things matter to me as much as the standard being met. An example happened this year with two of my students arriving from drop off to start the day.

We headed into the school together to pick out our breakfast when one peer, of his own initiative, asked the other “Are you getting breakfast” and that peer, not highly verbal but able to speak in 1-2 word phrases responded back, again, without prompting from me, “Yeah.” I was in awe. They connected, they communicated. This matters.

 

What is a challenge that you’ve faced as a teacher and how did you solve it?

We have many challenges. To say otherwise is silly. I try to take each day as a new starting point to meet the needs of my students in this moment. We often do not have enough time, not enough manpower, not quite enough funds. So, whatever challenges arise from these limitations, I have realized I have to do what I can in that day, being present for my students, for my team, and start all over again tomorrow.

Deanna M. Earles

Data Entry

Deltona Elementary School, School-Related Employee of the Year

 

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love that I get the perfect balance of working with my adult peers and celebrating students’ accomplishments every day. It’s the perfect mix.

 

How long have you worked for the school district?

7 years in various positions: ESE Para, Assessment Secretary, Substitute, ISS Para, Data Entry 

 

How does your job impact students and what do you do to enhance the educational experience?

In my position, I am able to put the puzzle together. If each child is a puzzle, I am the one who helps use the data to put all the pieces together. This ensures that all children are managed for their individual educational needs and services.

 

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