Sydney Valdez and Noelia Gomez!

June’s Dual Language Teacher of the Month award continues the trend begun in May by celebrating and recognizing the hard work of a duo of teachers. Sydney Valdez and Noelia Gomez who work as a team at Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C. and were nominated by Laura Chapa. Clara shared this about the duo, ”Sydney and Noelia communicate high expectations, respect and show interest in each of their students. Both teachers recognize students as bilingual learners. They help them making cross linguistic connections by coordinating the skills taught in each language to maximize cross linguistic transfer and supporting learning in content areas without repeating.” With that said, we are thrilled to recognize the work of these outstanding educators!

Each of these women followed different paths to becoming teachers and that road brought them together at Tyler Elementary School. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish, Ms. Valdez felt she could put her degrees to use by working as a paraprofessional. She sought out a position at Tyler and began working in a Pre-K class room She fell in love with teaching and her supervisor recognized her talent for working with children. The principal of the school told her about an alternative certification program that would train her to become a classroom teacher where she would be placed in a high-need school. Ms. Valdez was accepted to the program which she completed, and is currently in her 5th year as Kindergarten teacher at Tyler Elementary School.

Ms. Gomez, who is originally from Spain was pursuing a degree in early childhood education. As a part of her studies, she began a practicum that helped her realize that,

It’s not a profession that you can learn everything in your degree. It’s a path of effort and persistence during your whole life.

She attended classes at SEK-Atlantico International School in Spain and was offered a teaching position as a member of their team. “It was amazing to keep learning from them and at the same time be a teacher in a school that the students are able to learn through different perspectives and languages.”

Each member of this team has a passion for being a teacher and thoroughly enjoys working with their students throughout the day. Ms. Valdez loves to inspire her students to work hard to insure that they reach their potential. She shares,

the most personally rewarding moments of my job come when I am teaching Guided Reading and Phonics. It is especially rewarding to witness my students that are struggling readers gain confidence and pride in themselves as they grow in reading, writing, and speaking.

She understands the importance of tailoring instruction by using strategies and practices that she can use with each individual student. Ms. Gomez’ favorite part about teaching is that it is so dynamic. She shared,

My favorite part of being a teacher is that every day is a new experience and you always can learn something new. Both teachers understand that there is not a “one size fits all” solution to teaching students as they all have different needs. They insure that they adapt their teaching strategies to ensure that each and every student succeeds.

Continue reading to find out more about the Dual Language June Teachers of the Month…

As a member of a team, each teacher knows that they bring a set of skills to the partnership. In order to insure that they do not stagnate, each must continue to develop and evolve as teachers and individual. Ms. Valdez attended TWIOP (Two-Way Immersion Observation Protocol) to better understand Dual Language and Bilingual Education. She also served as the Dual Language Cohort Chair last year for the Dual Language K-1 Language Arts cohort for Professional Development days. This work has helped her to better understand the acquisition of language, which is applied to the lessons that they plan for their students. Ms. Gomez’ professional development interests involve studying methodologies related to cooperative learning and Multiple Intelligences Theory. She is using the knowledge gained to create and insure a cooperative environment during Spanish lessons.

This team has a great passion for the work that they do and they are committed to their students. They work hard to create an environment where students feel safe and supported. Their classrooms stand out because,

There is a strong sense of community and love within our walls that allows for everyone to feel safe when trying something new.

When students are encouraged to take risks they learn to become independent. This independence translates into life-long learning. This duo understands that their job is to help to shape these students to prepare them for bright futures.

Another important aspect of the team work is understanding that learning also occurs outside of the 4 walls of a classroom. They instill qualities of responsibility and collaboration in their students. Ms. Valdez was instrumental in beginning a soccer club at the school, which has grown each year. Her reason for beginning the soccer club was to get students to practice a variety of essential skills, i.e. teamwork, sportsmanship, and communication – all while playing a fun sport. Ms. Gomez also opened the doors of creativity by participating in the Spanish film club, providing students an opportunity to practice their skills in Spanish.

As dual language educators, this duo understand the importance of meeting the goals of dual language programs, to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. They know that these skills will help their students to be active members of a global society. When they think about the future these students will have they share that,

We see our students leading the world towards a positive, loving, and inclusive future. Our students look after each other and support one another personally and academically.

Join us in celebrating the contributions that this dynamic duo brings to Tyler Elementary School as they help to prepare future leaders who are empathetic, loving, and curious.

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