"She goes above and beyond to reach each of her students. She is always willing to try new things and perfect her craft. She helps other teachers at Gomez as well as staff at other schools, the Dual Language Program and the community and she does it all with a smile!"- Melissa Wolken (Gomez Heritage Dual Language Team Leader)
Maira Guzman came to our attention when she was nominated by one of her colleagues. We were thrilled to name her as our Dual Language teacher of the month because of her tenacity, drive, and motivation towards Dual Language education. Not only that, but Maira understands the benefits of dual language education more than most people. Largely because, she was a dual language student herself, and the parent of a dual language student! The popularity of dual language education is constantly increasing, and with that, we need successful teachers to support the ever-growing movement. Teachers like Maira are an example of the ones we need to educate future generations. In this article, we will honor Maira's craft, and discuss how she can be an example for educating future Dual Language teachers!
Maira has been involved in education for almost 10 years. After being a dual language student herself and putting her child in dual language education, she first started working as a 1st grade paraprofessional in May 2008. She then worked as a Bilingual Liaison for Spanish speaking families at a high school for six and a half years while attending school part-time to become a teacher. During her time as a bilingual liaison, she was given the opportunity to tutor some of the ELL students after school. She facilitated a reading program (Reading Together) during migrant summer school and Saturday school during the school year at various sites where it's offered. She has had the opportunity to work with diverse migrant and refugee students from across the district and the pleasure to learn a lot about them and their cultures. After earning her degree in education, in 2016, she began her teaching career at Gomez Heritage, Omaha Public Schools District in Omaha, Nebraska, and continues to assist with migrant Saturday and summer school as needed.
"Dear Sra. Guzmán, I like how you always help me understand things and achieve all my goals! I like how you are always there for me on my hardest time I do not know what I would be without you! I am glad you are my teacher! Having you is the best present I can have in the whole world!" -Elizabeth H.(student)
While working as a bilingual liaison, Maira recruited students and participated in various volunteer opportunities with some of the high school students. One of her best friends was a part of the PTO at Gomez Heritage. For the previous years, she helped organize the annual carnival and recruit volunteers. Maira, along with the high school students volunteered at the carnival, and it was then when she first became familiar with the school. While volunteering, Maira was immediately immersed with how welcoming and friendly everyone was, from the students, their families and the staff. She then got an insider perspective of the school when she was assigned to Gomez Heritage for her practicum and student teaching placement.
Maira with her 4th Grade Dual Language team: I love how we all work closely together and always share ideas that will benefit the students in our dual language classrooms.
"Having been a dual language student in high school myself and for the past few years a parent of a student in the dual language program, I have always been intrigued to be a part of the program as a teacher. I was very excited to be assigned to Gomez. After completion of my practicums, I knew that Gomez Heritage was the school I wanted to teach at."
Continue reading to find out more about how Maira inspires her students everyday...