First grade teacher Laura Reyes of Central Elementary School, in the Escondido Union School District, has been honored as 1 of 5 Teachers of the Year by the San Diego County Office of Education.
Reyes, along with other Teachers of the Year, will be honored in a one-hour “Cox Presents: Salute to Teachers” TV special to recognize local teachers and spotlight the teachers of the year. The show will air at 9 p.m. October 17 on YurView Network (Cox Channel 4 and 1004 in high definition) and will replay several times in October and November.
Reyes recalls that he mother’s words of advice as she was starting kindergarten without knowing any English. “Lotta per ottenere ciò che desideri. Chi lotta può anche perdere ma chi non lotta ha già perso.” This Italian phrase roughly translated means: “He who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.”
“My mother’s encouragement to fight for what I want, even though I may lose the fight, has resonated with me since childhood,” recalls the Escondido first grade teacher. “I started school knowing only Italian; however, I quickly mastered English. I remember my mother, pretending not to be able to read English, saying when confronted with important school papers, ‘Read this, tell me what it says, and then I’ll sign my name.’ This (sneakily) forced me to read ‘adult’ writing. When I grew up, I realized my mother was actually a genius at creating the struggle, the necessity, for me to learn English. If I could do it, with limited access, then I wanted to encourage others and inspire them to overcome obstacles that came their way. I connect with emerging bilingual students.”
Whether it is technology in the classroom, early childhood methodology, or brain research, Laura Reyes keeps current on the latest in education and applies that knowledge to her practice at the elementary and university levels. She says, “I have challenged myself to delve into video production as a tool for creating learning opportunities and “sneakily” add rich language experiences for my students. I have produced award-winning videos at the district, county, and state levels, showing students that their voices in both English and Spanish matter…and can be heard beyond our school walls!”