2017 Blackboard Award Honoree: Neris Roldan

Neris Roldan; photo by Marcus Photography

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2017 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Neris Roldan
Grade 2
P.S. 171 – Patrick Henry Preparatory School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as a teacher.

The smiles of the children learning bring me joy. The moment when a child gets something for the first time makes teaching worth it. I would say one of the challenges of being a teacher is meeting the individual needs of diverse learners in a classroom. Making sure each and every one of my students is being challenged at his/her own level and in his/her own learning style.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

This past March, I received a new student who came to my classroom from Ghana. He was evaluated to be at a pre-Kindergarten level in both ELA and math. I quickly developed a plan to work on letter sounds, sight words, and basic addition and subtraction. I individualized his homework to meet the work he was doing in the classroom. He isn’t meeting grade 2-level standards yet, however he’s reading Kindergarten and grade 1-level books, and is adding, subtracting, telling time, and identifying shapes and fractions. He’s come a long way in three short months, but all his hard work and successes have made me extremely proud.

Elizabeth Willen (The Hechinger Report), Neris Roldan, and Jonathan Moore (Family Media) at the 2017 Blackboard Awards; Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

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

Getting visits from old students, who are now in college, and hearing them recount how much they loved their experience in grade 2, makes me feel accomplished. If something happened in my class that made them feel successful enough to look back with fondness on their time in my classroom, then I feel successful.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

My motivation has been my students. They depend on me for support, encouragement, and inspiration. They look to me for more than just guidance, but to model how to fail and succeed, how to treat and help others, and to always try to go above and beyond.