Working at an alternative high school in Boston early in my career and hearing about the experiences of my students really opened my eyes to the importance of equity in education. They taught me that I didn’t always need to know what to say, but listening to them and allowing for their voices to be heard was what they needed and deserved. I learned to be myself, be present, and develop authentic relationships because students can sense if adults aren't being real.
As a counselor I am constantly learning how unique each students perspective is, no matter how common the issue. The more understanding I have about each student's outlook, the better I can help them along a path to success.
Whenever I'm asked about influential teachers, I think of my 5th Grade teacher Ms. Capuano. I remember my friends and I were having some classic 5th grade drama, and she kept us in from recess and made us sit in a circle and talk it out. It's the first time I can remember a teacher focusing solely on our emotions as kids––not because it was affecting us in the classroom, but because she truly cared how everyone was doing. I believe that in order for a kid to be successful in school, they need to feel supported emotionally, and she demonstrated how to do it!
I was born in Trinidad, and although I moved here when I was three years old, I grew up listening to soca music. Soca music is my happy place. When I am stressed or frustrated I can play soca and immediately smile. My mind becomes flooded with the best memories of dancing in the street during Trinidad Carnival, celebrating at my wedding, Saturday mornings with my family, and dancing with my beloved granny (who is no longer with us but knew how to move when soca was playing). As someone who has moved around quite a bit in life, soca has always provided me the comfort of home no matter how far away I am from my loved ones.
I love having the ability to make a teacher's work feel a little easier, whether it is connecting them with professional development, communicating with families, working with students, or sharing words of encouragement.
If I ever walk away from a class session not having learned something from my students, it's an indicator that something was missing from the lesson. That said, one of the main things I've learned from my students, particularly now, is that I don't need to hide behind a mask of perfection. When my students are tired, they tell me that they're tired. When they're confused, they say they're confused. If they're feeling great, they let me know. They don't mask emotions, and I find that incredibly admirable.
Girls come up to me and say they're happy that I, as a female, am their computer teacher. It's shown them that they can go into tech, too, even though it's still a male dominated field.
It's so rewarding when parents tell you about projects that their child has started at home that were inspired by something in the classroom.