Pharmacist turned preschool teacher, Ms. Aurica believes children are a gift from God. Every day, she meets kids and their families where they are and takes them on a journey of discovery and learning.
The job of a teacher is special because teaching is a profession that creates other professions. Ms. Aurica values respect and instills this in her students. Admittedly, her students teach her more than she could ever teach them.
Q.What subjects or grades have you taught?
A.Throughout my teaching career, I have taught students from Preschool to High School. I have had experience teaching in all grade-levels and now I have my own childcare, where I teach children ages 2-4 years old.
Q.What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome as an educator?
A. Every day is a challenge in an educator’s life. That is what makes teaching interesting. Working with children can be hard work, but fun at the same time. You are “on stage” constantly; those eyes watch and evaluate you all the time. It’s a huge responsibility to be their role model, but being around my students is what makes me come alive, and I feel blessed to work in this wonderful environment.
There are more challenges I’ve had to overcome in my almost 20 years of teaching, but one that I take closest to heart is when external factors get in the way of a student’s behavior and learning, no matter the age of the child. This could range from family issues, personal or social issues, to illness and other behavioral impediments. There are days when I predict the challenge of the day by the look on that child’s face when they come through the door. Showing grace and love to them above all else is sometimes what they need most, and often, that child wiggles their way into a soft place in my heart as God uses them to teach me things I might not have learned otherwise.
I moved from a foreign country to the United States. When I relocated to the United States, I barely spoke English. This meant that I not only had to learn the culture and do everything to fit in and be understood and accepted as a foreigner, but also that I had to go above and beyond to earn the trust of parents who entrusted me with their most precious gifts.
Q.What are some of your greatest achievements?
A. 1.I learn every day through teaching. While I teach my students values and early life and social skills, I learn new things about myself and the world.
2. Building satisfaction through satisfying students and their parents, by helping them achieve important milestones and be proud of their achievements. This never gets old, and I get to celebrate with them over and over again.
3. Earning respect through dedication and quality of work. Every parent and child journey is different and unique to them, and I get to meet them where they are, and take them through a journey of discovery and learning.
Q.What do you love the most about being an educator?
A.Teaching is the profession which creates other professions. I love watching my little students grow throughout the year: physically, socially, mentally. It’s amazing to watch how students of any age grow and you help raise them. You set your morals on them without saying it, you show them what structure looks like, you show them how to appropriately fail, and most importantly you show them how to love one another. Just like a parent gives a big piece of themselves to their kids, a teacher gives them a little chunk too, because they may forever hold on to a little habit they learned around that teacher early on.
Q.What inspired you to become a teacher?
A. My original intent was to become a pharmacist; however, things didn’t work out with that career. When that happened, I kept my faith strong and prayed to be put on the right path, and ultimately God has helped me choose my path in life and has led me to where I am today. He has helped me become someone I had a calling for, a teacher. I decided to pursue a career in education in order to influence and make a difference in children’s lives.
Q.What have your students taught you?
A. Over the years, I’ve learned a number of lessons from children, and I’ll list a few. Get excited: never stop getting excited like a child over a new job, a new love, or a new friendship. Don’t be afraid of new things: it’s always better to regret what you’ve done than what you haven’t done. Have fun. Be curious. Express yourself sincerely. Take advantage of each moment. Love fearlessly. It’s okay to cry when you are upset. It’s ok to ask for help when you need it. Adapt to change. Yes, they taught me more than I could ever teach them.
Q.If there is one thing you want your students to learn from you, what would it be?
A.Respect! Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them. Giving and receiving respect builds a feeling of trust, safety, and wellbeing. Respect doesn’t always come naturally – it is something you learn. When a student is respected by their teacher, they will do the same in return with everyone else they will meet throughout their lifetime.
Q.Do you have any advice to give fellow educators?
A. Love what you do, and be good at it. There will be tough days and simple days, but take them in stride. Keep hope, keep learning, have confidence, be firm but fair, and do it all with love. Take care of yourself first. You will be infinitely more patient and capable of staying on top of everything if you eat well and go to bed early. And always keep in mind, teaching gets better with time. Stay strong and don’t quit!