You’re Awesome! As a teacher, you are making an impact that will bring fruit for generations to come. 

Through out my 6 years of teaching I was able to learn many valuable skills that allowed me to take my English Language Arts students from a 50% mastery rate to an 80% mastery rate. During those years, AJ was also contracted by Teach for America to mentor teachers all across the country. Before leaving education AJ was hired to create the reading curriculum for one of the biggest public independent school districts in South Texas. During this time AJ collaborated with teachers who had the highest performing scores, and brought that to his classroom. 

1st year of Teaching

My first year of teaching consisted of learning how to manage my classroom. Through trial and error I learned which routines and procedure best fit me as a teacher. I quickly learned that a great lesson plan would never reach its true potential without managing your classroom. It definitely was a difficult task, but by the end of the year I was able to master it. Taking everything that I learned from my first year about classroom management and the several methods a teacher can use in the classroom, will help me better prepare the teachers I will mentor and in turn will make their lessons come to life. 

2nd year of Teaching

Truly understanding the curriculum is what I learned my second year of teaching. I quickly learned that explaining lessons to one class did not work well for other classes. By gaining a deeper understanding of the curriculum (memorizing the TEKS, and applying them to different teaching strategies) it allowed me to teach the curriculum differently for my students. I soon found myself creating T-Charts for one class, having debates for another class, having some students role play, and others teach their peers all in one day, while still teaching the same skill. It was awesome! All my students finally understood the material taught in my class.

Challenging teachers to truly know their curriculum and helping them differentiate classroom instruction through the many teaching strategies I learned the last couple years will allow these teachers to not only teach to a certain group of kids, but to reach all their students. 

3rd year of Teaching

By the third year of teaching I realized that even though I had great classroom management and knew how to differentiate instruction for my students, I still lacked rapport with my students. Building a rapport is a key element in reaching out to the kids from the Rio Grande Valley. Many of these kids do not have the support at home to do well in school. I needed to genuinely build rapport with my students, so that even the reluctant students would be working for me. I soon had kids, who even though they had parents that were not involved in their school life, were still completing their assignments for me. 

Helping new teachers discover ways on how to build rapport with their students is something I will deliver. By helping these teachers build rapport with their students, they will not only have great classrooms that are managed and have great lesson plans, but they will have reluctant students wanting to work hard for them. These teachers will then initially touch the heart of their students. By touching the heart of their students, my teachers will be able to instill a sense of passion for learning in the hearts of their kids so that they can succeed in the classroom and in life.

4th year of Teaching

After my third year of teaching I still was not satisfied. I was satisfied with my classroom management, my classroom instruction, and the rapport I had build with my students, but I was not content will consistently having around 50% of my students master the state assessment at the end of the year. I realized I was teaching my kids, but was not helping all of them master the TEKS that they were expected to have obtained by the end of the year. 

Soon after my scores came in at the end of the year, I researched out to some of the schools all over Texas. I looked at the schools that had the same demographics, teacher-to-student ratio, and school size. I then took the initiative to personally email and contact the 6th grade teachers from different parts of the state of Texas, who had most of their kids, if not all their kids, master all the skills they needed. I asked about their teaching strategies and how certain lessons were taught.  I soon realized that the expectations that I had previously set for my kids were not as high as I had expected. I also learned about the value of assessments and how valuable using the data was in order to determine my student’s weaknesses. I found myself constantly looking at student data in order to look for the gaps in my students learning and my teaching. After using several pieces of data to analyze my students learning and setting the high expectations for my students, I went from having 52 % of my kids master the state test to 70% of  them master the test. Helping teachers set high and great expectations for their kids is what will require from all of my teachers. 

Being an E.S.L teacher that year and providing second language acquisition through linguistically accommodated instruction in the classroom allowed me to learn a lot of other great teaching strategies. Implementing the linguistically accommodated instruction in my regular classroom also helped in my reach out to my students in my general reading classes. Teaching these strategies to my teachers will better prepare teachers with the tools necessary to teach the students.

5th year of Teaching

During my 5th year of teaching I was able to take everything I learned the last four years and implement them all at once my this year.  Even though I had 100 more kids to be accountable for, my expectations for all of my students was placed even higher. All 160 of my students were expected to read every single day of the week, Monday- Sunday. Students were not only expected to read, but also write every day. There are many other expectations that I  placed for my students that were very challenging for them, but I believed that each one them will be able to surpass my expectations. 

One new thing that I challenged myself to do that year was build great rapport with all of my students’ parents. Being a full time teacher of 160 plus kids, a coach, and an F.C.A coordinator made it challenging to contact all of my parents. In order to do this, I developed a system where I texted message my student’s parents every other two weeks. This system of communication with my parents helped me reap many benefits. I currently had kids that could not do well in their benchmarks doing well early on in the year. What I had seen students gain at the end of the year in previous years of teaching, I was seeing in the early parts and middle of the year. 

As a coach AJ will help create not the good but the great teacher should should become. Even when  teachers feel that they have mastered all the areas of teaching, I will challenge them each and every day to better themselves. By having the teachers daily trying to improve and challenge themselves as educators, these teachers under my wing will in turn better challenge their kids by setting higher expectations needed so that their students will succeed in the classroom and beat the education inequity that is in our schools today.

6th year of Teaching

In my last year of teaching I was hired by Teach for America to mentor teachers from all across the country. During this time I was able to have 80% of all his students pass the state mandated test, which in turn delivered  the highest scores in the English Language Arts and Reading  grade level. Before leaving his career I was hired to create the 6th grade curriculum for one of the biggest school districts in South Texas.

One great thing that I was able to accomplish before leaving his education career was assist one of my colleagues in passing the Texas Teaching Exam. This individual was able to pass his teaching exam with the guidance and help provide for him.

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