Teachers often bring out the best in us. That's certainly what Gabriela Marmolejos' (Ms. M) second grade teacher did.
"I struggled a lot from Kindergarten to First Grade," said Ms. M. "I had a second-grade teacher who really inspired me and motivated me to try my best. That inspired me, and I wanted to do that for other students and people as well."
Even though this is Ms. M's first year teaching, it's not her first year as a staff member of Mill Creek Elementary.
"She was in extended day," said Lianneoys, one of her third-grade students. "She was a really great teacher there, that’s why I wanted to be in her classroom."
Ms. M was part of the school's Extended Learning Program for two years, before interning in third grade classrooms during her junior and senior years of college. Ma'Kaylie, another student in Ms. M's class, knows that third grade is a critical year for her and her classmates.
"I learned that we have to show Ms. Gabby that we are smart enough to pass the FSA," said Ma'Kaylie.
Ms. M has all the tools and training she needs to help her students succeed thanks to the Future Teachers' Academy. The academy is a partnership between Valencia, UCF, and the school district for students interested in pursuing a career in elementary education. Once a student successfully completes the program, they are offered a job within our school district.
"I was already familiar with the third-grade team," said Ms. M. "They come in often to help me lesson plan and to go over the CUPs because I am a first-year teacher, so it sometimes gets confusing."
Just down the hall from Ms. M. is a second graduate of the academy.
"[The academy] It inspires someone and pushes some to go ahead and do teaching because I wasn’t really thinking about this profession until it was offered to me," said Veronica DeJesus, a fifth-grade teacher at Mill Creek Elementary.
Ms. DeJesus implements a lot of the skills and lessons she learned during the academy with her own class allowing her to build great relationships with her students.
"She helps us when we’re stuck on something, or she is just there for us," said Gloria, a fifth grader at Mill Creek Elementary.
Both Ms. M and Ms. DeJesus are starting off their careers strong.
"Mill Creek is like a family to me," said Ms. M.
"Personally, I like teaching students," said Ms. DeJesus. "I know I wake up every day and love doing it."
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