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PSRP/School Support Staff: Tell us your story about how the work you do makes a difference in the lives of your students.

Comments: 19

Any help for our students is wonderful!

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Christie Grove
OFNHP
longview, WA

I like when the kids see me across the hall and they run up to me and give me hugs. That's a great feeling and that's when you know you made a big difference in your school. I am doing my job but by the same token, I go above and beyond to see a kid smile. About 9 years ago I took the responsibility of having a book fair in our school. We had theme days, Clifford and many other themes. I never thought is was going to become so popular that we had to have one in the fall and one in the spring. The kids call me the book fair lady. So I decided to put some of those funds to have an annual field day. It worked out and now we have one every year. Hurray!

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Carmen Gonzalez
NWK teachers #481
North Arlington, NJ

Building relationships, setting expectations and giving praise with rewards to students shows. As they grow older, they stop down and beg me to work with their classes. This is reassuring, that I have made a positive difference in their lives. I teach reading through social studies, geography, foreign language and art, subjects that many teachers are limited in teaching these days because reading, math and science are all that seem important to district leaders. I have been blessed to see the growth of my students over the years and am proud to say ... I MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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Pam Booth
59
Minneapolis, MN

In my school, I established a leadership, after-school club for eighth grade girls, tailored to enhance their emotional, social, and academic growth and development so they can be successful in high school. As an instructional assistant, I get to interact with all the girls on my team. Even if some girls do not participate in the program, I am compelled to be a role model, gain a rapport with all of them, and not be afraid to show I care about their well-being. Teaching is modeling what we expect from students. If we demonstrate we care, they will care about their education. I am proud to be an Educarer, and place "care" in education!

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Tanya Liverman
4260
Hampton, VA

Facing the ravages of cuts to programs in our community college district, it has become increasingly vital that we provide resources for our students to take advantage of. Working in a library has afforded me with multiple opportunities to assist students with searches. Some of our students have not been trained in computer operations, formally or informally. When I am able to show them how to access data on their own, I am providing them with lifelong confidence to pursue their educational as well as economic growth. That is a reward that can only be deemed as priceless.

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Troy Pierce
Staff Guild, 1521A
Monterey Park, CA

Our students come from a vast array of diversity. We are here to hopefully assist in getting a job or transfer to a university. Students who can be successful but don't have the self-esteem or confidence to enrich their lives are not going to be successful if they don't have these important skills. It is a great feeling when you know that your help has given someone hope for their future. We, of course, can only do so much and that is where the parents or the city or even the state can step in to assist.

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Karen Galvan
6108 local
Long Beach, CA

For the past 17 years, I have worked as an extended care provider before and after school. I also organized the employees who are now members of our local union. I have the opportunity to be the "second mother" to these children--and to some, the only mother figure. Many of these kids still come back to see me regularly. I have the opportunity, which other staff members in my school do not, to meet with the parents every day as they pick up their children. Many of these students have become lifelong friends. I have made a difference in their lives, as they have in mine.

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Georgene Underhill
OSEA6732
Lake Oswego, OR

The work I do makes a difference in the lives of my students in that I arm my students with the ability to grow academically and emotionally. My students, through my work, are able to move ahead to the next grade, ready to succeed at the next level. My students improve their reading skills, solidify their math skills and become writers capable of writing full and complete essays with correct grammar and sentence structure. Through my work, my children learn to get along with each other. They learn to accept each other for their differences and learn from each other from these differences. An educator's worth has incalculable value.

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Jessica Jacobs
UFT
STATEN ISLAND, NY

I am a building engineer at an elementry school. I often get kids from high school and junior high who come back. They run up to me with a big smile and say hi and begin telling me the things they remember about me. That gives me great feeling to know that I have made that kind of effect on the students. I also have a bullentin board full of thank-you notes, cards and homework written about me. They thank me for many things ranging from letting them in on a snow day to get homework, searching through several bags of lunch trash to find retainers and other items, getting thier ball, hat or shoe down from a tree, fixing their coat, glasses, etc.

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Joe West
Plant Engineers 6094
Plymouth, MI

I'm a paraprofessional. I work with one student to build his confidence and self-esteem. I help him believe in himself and others, and he performs well in class and has become more sociable. Sometimes my student makes the highest score in his core class, along with the other kids who are not in special classes.

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paula armelin
aft
lake charles, La. , LA

I am not sure if the work I do does make a difference anymore. In the 35 years I've been teaching, I experience less appreciation from administrators, parents and students for the work I TRY to do. My work is not totally without success, but in the public system, I see very little of the harvest from the fruits of my labor. Teaching is more thankless than ever before.

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Maria DiBenedetto
PFT
Philadelphia, PA

There is no feeling quite as satisfying as knowing that you have left an impression on another person's life. Knowing that your support, attention and encouragement have helped someone to make a positive decision that will impact their future ... there is no feeling quite as fulfilling.

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Linda Brooks
504
North Chicago, IL

I am the first person they see in the morning and the last that they see in the afternoon. I am their "parent" during the day. When they have a great day, I am there to give them a high five and congratulate them. When they have a bad day, I am there to shake my head and look sad over their actions. I can see the light in their eyes and smile on their face when they get a concept and the look of confusion and hurt when they just don't understand. I comfort them when they hurt themselves and cheer when they make their goals. I kind of look at my students as my "grandkids."

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Donna Flanigan
Oak Lawn, IL

By working in a counseling center, I am able to work with any student needing assistance. More of my direct contact is with juniors and seniors who need to take an ACT or SAT test, or apply for scholarships, awards, financial aid, etc. It's always neat to find out that a student has received a scholarship or won an award when you have encouraged them to apply. Doing what you can to help students and their parents is just a small part of what makes a school year enjoyable and successful!

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Vicki Squires
West Virginia School Service Personnel Assn.
Mineral Wells, WV

As a primary grades paraprofessional who doubles as an early morning and recess time yard monitor, I enhance my students' school day by organizing and conducting volunteer arts and crafts, and dance activities for them to get the opportunity to engage in fun, non-graded activities to boost their creativity and exercise good citizenship skills such as teamwork and cooperation, respect, responsibility, determination and courage to say no to bullying or school violence. These activities have resulted in a calmer atmosphere at school.

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Joanne Saunders
AFT1825
St.Thomas, VI

My students are usually the most challenged students in the school. As a para-educator, my job is to teach them the skills necessary to function in society. I take students to regular education classes and modify the work so they learn something. They have become acceptable socially to the student body as a whole, and the teachers accept them in the classroom with a para-educator present. Several of the teachers I work with have kept the students in class even when I am absent due to the training I have given. My students ARE learning!!!

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Iris Landry
Jefferson Federation Of Teachers
Metairie, LA

I have seen when a nonverbal student communicates. This student does not talk, but for six months, this student communicated nonverbally by signing to me. This made me laugh, and I have set my goals to a higher level of teaching, to communicate with a student who does not talk at all.

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Meriam Francis
AFT st. thomas
Charlotte Amalie, VI

I truly have a passion for teaching. I do not take it lightly when I am called a teacher. I stay up nights thinking about how I get the lesson across to the students and see the lightbulb meaning that they understand. To really make a difference in the lives of my students, I make certain that I physically sit down with each parent/guardian and find out more about my incoming students. I want to build relationships with both the parents and students. When the students feel comfortable in the classroom, that is when they become more engaged. These kids are our future and we need to do everything in our power to help them succeed. I am here!

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Jean Samuel
BFT
Palm Bay, FL

I teach a self-contained first grade class in Queens, NY. Two of my students have parents that do not speak a word of English. I am also the IEP teacher for my school. In that role, I make sure IEPs are done accurately and on time. I help evaluate children and manage cases. Each of my students needs individualized attention and I give that to them in many ways. In addition, my two paras help educate the students and translate for the Spanish parents and students.

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Andy Langbart
UFT
Lynbrook, NY

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