Its funny to me that I spent many evenings playing school with all my cousins. I was the teacher of course.
My first job out of college was teaching at my own "alma mater" high school, Jose Gautier Benitez in Caguas Puerto Rico. I taught English.
At that time, 1981, they really weren't keen about E.S.L or later E.S.O.L or ELA for English Language Arts and finally Literacy and Reading titles.
It was such a dream come true to work at my own High School 5 years later after I had graduated from college, with teachers who had been my teachers. That was just an amazing experience.
Fast forward to 1999...I was now living in Astoria since 1985. Giuliani was now mayor of NYC and Rudy Crew was the Chancellor for the New York City Board of Education.
The New York City Board of Ed had a crisis on its hands. New York City students math and reading results were dismal to the point of being scandalous. It was all over the news.
I was working at the New York City Parthership, at One Battery Park Plaza, in Manhattan. I worked in the Education Division as an assistant to Anne Rouse, who was heading the "Bridging the Gap Initiative."
I was really surprised to discover that some of the worst results were from kids in "Da Bronx."
Hey, I went to elementary school there. I learned to read at P.S. 54 on Freeman Street. That was where I recieved my educational foundation. I always was ahead in reading every year from second grade to my senior year in high school and that was in Puerto Rico. I didn't lose my English language skills because of my excellent foundational education. Why was it that decades later children were at such a disadvantage was very disheartening to me.
That year in September of 1999, was my cue to return to teaching in the public school system where they needed me the most: in "Da Bronx".
Even though I was living in Astoria and it meant going over the bridge $$$, I just wanted to see for myself the why for these disproportioned results, so it was a no brainer for me. I went to help the kids in the Bronx.
Once there, I realized that just because I had been a proficient reader and did well on standardized tests did not mean I knew exactly how to help my students. It was not enough to help and have an impact as a teacher.
I needed extra training. I applied to a neaby university, Lehman College and enrolled in the Literacy Studies graduate program. It was during that time that I became self-ware of how I learned and what strategies I used to learn.
One of the most important skills in learning is not just being "metacognitively" aware of what I can do well. It is also being able to self evaluate and notice what I do not do well.
This has been my most important teaching practice. Helping students develop their own awareness of their strengths and weaknesses.
Until now, twenty years plus later I am still edeavoring to helping students to reach their full academic potential.
By helping my students develop to their full potential, I am helping them to be able to achieve their future dreams.
By helping people develop their dreams we change lives.
Give us a call at (347) 870-3461, we're here to help.
Millie Mojica, Founder