The October Dual Language Teacher of the Month, Marta Jimenez, is someone who has dedicated her life to her students. A teacher for the last 19 years, she first came to our attention by the Dual Language Coordinator of her school (John Tyler Elementary, Washington, DC), Laura Chapa.
Children are my life-long passion. Besides, having 11 siblings, I think I am at an advantage. I have always been surrounded by kids and understand them well. I vividly remember the first time I entered a kinder classroom as a pedagogy student. The moment I stood in front of them I knew that teaching was what I wanted to do for a living. I think it is the combination of the kids' sensitivity and vulnerability that attracts me the most; I believe that supporting them and helping them through their early educational and social-emotional experiences is one of the most important things one can do professionally. It will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Ms. Jimenez spent many years teaching in Spain, and later moved to Washington, DC in 2009. She immediately began looking for professional opportunities, and seven years ago, she took her talents to John Tyler Elementary. She had full confidence in this decision and never doubted it for a single second. She describes teaching at Tyler as offering a great professional challenge that combines the difficulties of bilingualism with those of integrating kids with extremely diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
Sometimes kids look at you with a sad face and say "I can't do this." Then you help them a little, offer a couple of tools, push them a bit, and let them try again. When they suddenly realize they can do it, their eyes open full with satisfaction and their faces light up. That is the best feeling for a teacher.
Ms. Jimenez has also challenged herself and her knowledge outside of the classroom. Last year, she presented at LEA (LEA Institute: It Takes a City: DC Does it Best - Elementary, Secondary, and Specialized Education Session Presentations). There, she was able to share experiences with other teachers and the mutual love for education.
She has applied the research from the institute into her classroom. Particularly those pertaining to movement, yoga, and meditation. She finds it very useful to mix different types of activities in the classroom; it helps kids enormously, especially with focus.
Continue reading to learn more about our October Dual Language Teacher of the Month...