What career path can lead to an accomplished teacher?

Posted by Ronald | April 5, 2013  |  No Comment

The Holmes Education Post continues its segment of interviewing professionals in different fields as an avenue to inform the public, particularly students, of career paths for successful employment. Our distinguished interviewee is Dr. Rebecca Palacios, a retired and an accomplished teacher, as well as owner of Palacios Educational Consulting. An excerpt of the interview with Palacios follows:

What career path led to your profession?

As a very young child, I remember walking with my grandmother and my older sister to her school, visiting her classroom and falling in love with the notion of “school.” I do not remember a moment that I did not want to become a teacher. As I went through my own schooling, I kept mental files of songs, activities, projects and teacher’s work so that I could use them when I became a teacher. When I entered college, I knew my major and finished college in three years and my master’s degree the fourth year. I became a really effective and accomplished teacher by being on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a founding board member, and then undergoing National Board Certification. This introspection and practice of the standards for accomplished teaching helped me to better plan and engage students in their own learning.

What educational background and/or professional training is essential for the teaching profession?

Essential for teaching is a well-rounded education that prepares teachers for the subject matter that they will teach. However, I have found that quality pre-service experiences help retain teachers and mentoring during the first three years of teaching ensures the novice teacher’s success.

What influenced you to pursue a career as a teacher?

My biggest influences on pursuing my career as a teacher and staying in the classroom for 34 years were the students I worked with and their families. I felt that I had a calling and could make a difference in children’s lives. Every day was a different, fun experience for me, and I wanted it to be like that for every child that entered my door. Because I mainly worked with prekindergarten students the majority of my teaching years, my classroom was the foundation upon which their educational careers began, so I wanted the magic of learning to come to life: books that opened doors of wonder, activities that made them want to explore more, or materials that were open-ended, meaning that they could make it their own and be creative in their work.

What advice do you give to students who desire to pursue a career as a teacher?

Students who desire to become a teacher should remember two things: Have patience and make every day an exciting learning experience for your students.

What professional, civic or community organization do you belong?

I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers at the local, state and national levels. I was involved in teacher advocacy very early on in my career and have continued it through my retirement from teaching. It is important to be an advocate not only for teachers and teaching, but for learners. I made it a point to testify before our Texas State Legislature Education committees on early childhood throughout my career because it is easy for policy and lawmakers to forget constituents that do not vote: our very young children. As educators, we must be the voices of children. I am member of the National Association for Bilingual Education and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

What is your job description and/or typical work day?

While I retired from teaching three years ago, I have my own consulting firm, Palacios Educational Consulting. I have my office days and work with early childhood, bilingual or dual language consulting projects. My work time is balanced between working in the office and being on the road presenting at conferences or advocating for young children. I am also a Senior Curriculum Advisor for ABCmouse.com, so I work daily on our online Early Learning Academy.

How do you use the online educational learning tool in the classroom developed by Age of Learning, Inc.?

Although I am no longer in the classroom, I have presented ABCmouse.com to countless numbers of teachers that use the free online early childhood curriculum in their classrooms. The supplemental curriculum helps teachers customize lessons for a whole group, small group or individual students. ABCmouse.com is lauded by teachers as being one of the most teacher and child-friendly tools to help students develop concepts and skills in literacy, oral language development, early science and social studies, art and music. Working with ABCmouse.com has been one of the most powerful things I have done for children. It has the ability to engage not only teachers and students, but also families in the educational process.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of three books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education” and “How to Eradicate Hazing.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

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