Pam Vera teaches English/Reading, Math, and Social Studies. She has 28 years experience — and she’s one of the Teachers We Love in 2021. You can learn more about her in the interview below, and at The Teacher Marketplace.
Why did you become a teacher?
Ever since I was six years old, I’ve enjoyed helping my peers learn. I remember teaching kids how to ride their two-wheelers, and loving the “buddy readers” program at my school. After twenty-eight years of teaching, I can say that I love seeing the kids’ excitement when they are able to understand something that they’ve struggled with.
What is the funniest moment you’ve experienced a teacher?
Young kids saying “uh-oh spaghetti oh” when they make a mistake, instead of getting frustrated. I heard that expression for months and it rubbed off so now I am using it!
How has the last year affected your students and your teaching approach?
I now realize that technology can play an important role in teaching and learning. Now students can learn independently through online platforms such as Imagine Learning.
What’s a creative solution you use to keep kids engaged or motivated during COVID?
Pin the students to the screen and have them showcase something relevant to themselves.
What resources do you like to use in the classroom or in teaching remotely?
Google Classroom, Quizziz, short video clips, Google docs with images, Math manipulatives online, Peardeck, Brainpop Jr.
What is your experience with bullying in the classroom?
Bullying can’t be ignored. There has to be an ongoing monthly conversation about it, through skits, personal experiences and solutions. Rules regarding bullying have to be clear, consistent, and fair. When students are having a conflict, a one-on-one meeting should take place before a group meeting. The child who’s being bullied should be asked days and weeks later if the bullying has continued. Student safety, belonging, and happiness must be priorities in the classroom.
How do you gauge if your students are succeeding?
Tests are just one indicator of student learning. I measure students’ growth by their oral and written responses on independent work. Likewise by their ability to link their learning to future lessons and real-life problem solving.
What’s a fun thing students don’t know about you?
I love the outdoors. My favorite activities are swimming, biking and hiking. I’ve explored the Galapagos Islands and saw giant tortoises — over 100 years old — feasting on cactus plants.
What’s the one book you wish all students would read?
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.
What is your primary educational goal, and what are you most proud of as a teacher?
My primary educational goal is that students view learning as interesting and exciting. I’m very proud of my career as a teacher: Students have really enjoyed being in my class, increased their confidence, and left with a higher self-esteem.
Meet More Teachers We Love in 2021
“Teachers We Love” in 2021 is a co-production between Parentology and The Teacher Marketplace. To meet more amazing teachers, visit the Teachers We Love section.
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