• Rachel Goetz Wins A 2013 Blackboard Award For Teachers

    York Avenue Preschool Teacher For Pre-K

    By Chrissy Makris

    What are some of the joys of being a preschool teacher?

    The children say some very funny things at this age! I also love watching their personalities develop and grow throughout the year. They are so excited about learning, and they show so much love. The hugs are the best!

    Please tell us about any special projects or initiatives you are most proud of this year. 

    This year, I am very proud of two special projects that involved my students—both of which focused on raising their social awareness to help others in need. The first project we participated in was the Hop-a-Thon, which raises money to help children with muscular dystrophy. [The children] asked [their] family and friends to sponsor them. They “hopped” for one minute and we were able to raise several thousand dollars for muscular dystrophy. The second outreach event that we were involved in was related to Hurricane Sandy. There was a nursery school in Breezy Point, Queens that was destroyed by the hurricane. In collaboration with one of my class parents, the students made “summer packages” filled with gifts to cheer them up. The students also made special cards for them to wish them a happy summer.

    Over the course of your career, what do you consider some of your greatest accomplishments to date? 

    Some of my favorite activities support my partnership philosophy of including parents in their child’s education whenever possible. For example, a yearly social studies unit focuses on our community (New York City). The children learn about the various parts of NYC and the people who work in the community. The culminating activity is Career Week, during which parents are invited into the classroom to talk about their jobs. The children love learning about the various careers and are excited and proud to see their own parents sharing information about their jobs.

    What drives you and keeps you motivated to continue your hard work as a teacher on a daily basis?

    Every day, I strive to create a nurturing classroom environment where the children are excited to come to school. I want them to be enthusiastic about learning new things, to become risk-takers, and to stimulate their curiosity and imagination. As I watch their growth through the year, I feel that I have accomplished my goals in preparing the children for kindergarten, and I look forward to another year of new students to work with.

    For more information about the Blackboard Awards, visit blackboardawards.com

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