Can you tell us about yourself?
“Hi, my name is Janine De Vera and I represent Vejar elementary in Vejar, California. My role at my site is the elementary learning specialist. So, I am actually a teacher on special assignment and an instructional coach for our teachers. Um, again, my school is located in Walnut, California and I have been at this school site for eight years.”
Why did you start a career in education?
“I started my career in education because I love the relationship that I have with students and, and I love the idea of teaching and helping students grow and learn. Um, I wanted to be third grade teacher since I was in third grade. That was, um, my dream when I was younger. So I followed that path and I just absolutely loved it from my first day of subbing and, and into my teaching career and the many different grade levels that I've taught.”
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
“Um, if I could have another job, what would it be and why? I would love to work somehow in the entertainment industry. I love, um, Broadway shows. So I would definitely, um, try out for those kinds of things. But just like a part of the chorus or the, um, the ensemble, I wouldn't want to be the, the main star. I do love singing and dancing and performing in that respect. So that is definitely something that I would want to do if I didn't have this teaching job.”
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
“How are different, how are kids different now from 30 years ago? I think, um, kids now are, uh, are exposed to a lot more information because of technology and social media. I think that, um, unfortunately they have to grow up a little bit faster. Um, they are exposed to things that I wasn't exposed to when I was their age. And so, I think that's the main thing that kids for me in my opinion, um, how they're different is their exposure and access to different types of information because of, um, technology
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
“Um, how is teaching different now than 30 years ago? I think, um, teachers now can be a lot, um, have to be more on the social, emotional learning side than they had to be in 30 years, since 30 years ago. I think that, um, students now are coming to our schools with a lot of, um, emotions and things that you don't understand. They come from different types of families and educators are now tasked with the, um, challenges of teaching beyond academic content, um, and they have to teach social skills and, and how to, um, control and how to cope with things. I think that educators now have to focus on that. And that probably wasn't a focus about 30 years ago.
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
“Well, what would you tell someone right now that is thinking about becoming a teacher? I think, um, I would tell them that it takes a lot of heart and it takes a lot of commitment and it takes a lot of hard work, but it's definitely worth it. Um, the relationships that you build with students and families and, uh, it's just priceless. And this is a career where it is a service and, and it's very worthwhile to see the relationships build and to see students grow. So it's very hard work and it could be emotionally draining on, on the person, but I really feel like that it's very worth it. So you have to have the right heart for it. Teaching is a work of heart.”
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
“Um, and finally, question seven, what is the one thing you would change to help kids learn better? Um, I would probably change their access to, um, support and counseling. Uh, again, I just feel like that is missing from our school sites. I think that when I went to school, I taught students how to, um, how to access the different curricular and content areas. But I didn't necessarily learn how to, um, properly support and counsel students through their emotional needs. And I'm learning now, thankfully, but I just think that that needs to be a huge focus. And, um, and I think that if we had access to more, uh, personnel that could help and professionals and experts that could help students with those areas, I think that would definitely help students learn better. So thank you.”