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Posts from the ‘Member Stories’ Category

CEA Members Share Why They Became Teachers and What They Love About Teaching

Teachers all have their own reasons for choosing the teaching profession, but ultimately it comes down to a love for their students and a desire to make a positive difference. Teachers who participated in a CEA ad campaign share why they decided to become teachers, what they love about the profession, and how they build relationships with students.

“I decided to become a teacher because I truly care for my students, and I wanted to give back, being from this neighborhood,” says Waterbury Reed Elementary health and physical education teacher Ricardo Gibson, who came to Waterbury from Jamaica as a child.

“I love the diversity of the children. I love being able to learn from my students, their families, and other teachers,” says Melissa Vargas, an English language arts teacher from Waterbury’s Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School whose family comes from Puerto Rico. “I love that I can be myself and express my culture with my students and share that with them as well.”

 

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Berlin Teacher to Be Inducted into National Teacher Hall of Fame

Teachers are a selfless group who choose their profession because of a love for children and teaching, not for any expectation of accolades or honors. And that makes those times teachers are recognized and have a chance to be in the spotlight all the more special.

Berlin Superintendent Brian Benigni, Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, National Teacher Hall of Fame representative and Joel Barlow High School teacher Christopher Poulos, and CEA President Jeff Leake congratulate David Bosso on his induction into the National Teacher Hall of Fame.

Berlin social studies teacher Dr. David Bosso had a student finishing a quiz at the end of the school day today and was afraid he was going to be late for a faculty meeting. When he arrived just in time he was surprised to see his colleagues joined by a number of special guests, and to learn that what he thought was a routine meeting was in fact a celebration in his honor.

Bosso, Connecticut’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, is one of only five 2019 inductees into the National Teacher Hall of Fame. Read more

Teachers Speak Up, Share Stories With Legislators: Join Them

Teachers have a lot to say on issues from their pensions to classroom safety this legislative session, which is why local associations around Connecticut are meeting with their legislators and making their voices heard.

Hamden Education Association members including President Diane Marinaro, standing at right, had a number of questions for Rep. Mike D’Agostino, Rep. Josh Elliott, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, and Senator George Logan.

“Politicians make decisions that affect our students and our profession,” says Hamden Education Association Vice President David Abate. “Sitting back and waiting isn’t a solution. I don’t like politics, but for legislators to know what’s going on in our schools they have to hear from teachers.” Read more

Hear How Your Colleagues Are Welcoming Their Students and Celebrating Diversity

“My favorite thing about teaching in a public school is that I get to meet people from all walks of life,” says Bridgeport teacher and 2019 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Sheena Graham.

Why public schools? “Every child deserves an education, and public schools are the best way to provide that education,” says Marlborough teacher David Wasserman.

Graham, Wasserman, and other teachers who took part in a recent CEA TV commercial share why public schools are so important and what learning in a diverse environment offers their students.


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Disrupted Learning: Oregon Teachers Share Their Stories, and You Can Too

There’s a crisis of disrupted learning not just in Connecticut, but across the U.S., and the Oregon Education Association today released a report on the conditions students and educators are facing in schools.

Some Oregon teachers talked to a local news station about the disruptions they face daily.

Teachers in Connecticut experience many of these same situations, but legislators are unaware of the severity and pervasiveness of the problem.

Share your own story (anonymously if you so choose) to make legislators aware of the need for action to make classrooms safe for all students and teachers.

To arrange for a teacher-legislator get-together in your district, contact your local association president and CEA’s Chris Donovan or Robyn Kaplan-Cho.

Windsor Choral Teacher Cheers on Former Student, Finalist on The Voice

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Choral teacher Tracee White (left) is delighted to welcome NBC’s The Voice finalist Kymberli Joye back to Windsor High School, where she was White’s student all four years. Joye serves as an inspiration for White’s current students, who watch each episode as a class and are rooting for their hometown celebrity.

A teacher’s good work often shines in her students, and for Windsor High School choral director Tracee White, the product of her hard work now shines on television.

White is the former teacher of rising star Kymberli Joye, a current finalist on NBC’s television reality competition The Voice. Joye’s vocal talents have landed her a spot in the top 10 on the program, which airs Mondays and Tuesdays.

White, who taught Joye for four years and learned that her protégé was auditioning for the show earlier this year, has been following her former student’s successes, even incorporating her progress into lessons for her choir classes.

“I make it educational,” White says, adding that she shows each performance to her classes. “They write reflections and critiques on the vocal performances. They look forward to that every week.”

An added bonus was when her star student was able to visit Windsor High School recently to share her experiences on The Voice—a huge morale-booster for current students.

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Griswold Teacher Brings Back Key Lessons from Holocaust, Genocide Workshop

Materials distributed at a recent workshop show educators how to create thoughtful lessons from tragedies such as the Holocaust and help students draw meaningful lessons from them.

Two days after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that claimed the lives of 11 Jewish worshipers, Griswold High School social studies teacher Hannah McNeil found herself in a discussion with other teachers about the difficult and important lessons that arise from human tragedies fueled by bigotry and hate.

An early-career teacher, McNeil was one of many educators—including new and veteran history and English teachers, department chairs, and college professors—at a workshop titled Teaching Holocaust and Genocide, hosted by the University of Hartford.

Connecticut’s public school teachers have gained increasing access to professional development opportunities such as this one since the passage of Senate Bill 452 this past spring. Supported by CEA and signed into law in May 2018, the legislation has added Holocaust and genocide education and awareness to the required courses of study for Connecticut’s public schools. Read more

How Connecticut Schools Honor Veterans

Many schools around Connecticut are closed tomorrow in observance of Veterans Day, which is why schools around the state honored Veterans and taught students about their service on Friday. From school-wide assemblies to classroom visits by students’ family members who are Veterans, below are some of the ways schools have been honoring Veterans.

Brooklyn Teacher’s Pastime Is a Major-League Hit

Brooklyn Elementary School fourth grade teacher Sean Maloney, a fan of Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams, has turned part of his four-acre Woodstock property into a replica of Fenway Park—Red Sox championship banners, scoreboard, stadium lights, and all.

True to the movie’s memorable line—If you build it, he will come—Maloney’s own ballfield has attracted everyone from Little Leaguers to retired Major League pitchers.

“I built the Wiffle ball field in 2016,” says Maloney. “I wanted my house to be a place where all my kids’ friends wanted to hang out.” His three children—sons Hayden (9) and Tristen (8) and daughter Teagan (8)—all play sports. Read more

Enfield Teachers Donate 1,400 Books to Local Families

Teacher Kelly Shea greets community members at Enfield’s Family Fun Festival, where teachers distributed 1,400 free children’s books.

Enfield’s teachers are on a mission to create bookworms in their community.

For the second year in a row, the Enfield Teachers’ Association (ETA) is adding to local families’ libraries through its community outreach efforts.

After the ETA put out a request for books, teachers collected 1,410 gently used titles for young children and adolescents through teacher donations as well as leftovers from the library of a recently closed school. The ETA beat last year’s inaugural record of 1,000 books collected.

Teachers were able to round up the books within two weeks, said Prudence Crandall School teacher and building rep Kelly Shea, who chaired the event. Over four nights, volunteers sorted the selections by grade level and genre and packed trios of books into large Ziploc bags labeled with the age range. The packets, suitable for kindergarten through high school, were handed out to children and families in late September at Enfield’s Family Fun Festival.   Read more