826 Valencia is honored to announce the recipient of the October Teacher of the Month Award, Ms. Viridiana Sanchez. Ms. Sanchez is a creative, compassionate, and enthusiastic Spanish Immersion teacher at Flynn Elementary School. One parent describes as her as a “triple threat” educator: energetic and astounding in the classroom, responsive and communicative with parents, and attentive to her students’ emotional needs. What a teacher! We were blown away by the number of stories that highlighted Ms. Sanchez’s commitment not only to being a fantastic teacher, but also to building a strong, empathetic community of learners.
Ms. Sanchez is well-known for the fun, diverse, and challenging projects she creates for her students. One particularly cool project that she did with her third-grade classroom was the “Shadow and Light” project, which helped her students learn super cool new skills, such as puppet and mask making and scriptwriting. (One of her former students described this project as “very great”!) One day, Ms. Sanchez even brought crayfish into the classroom to show her students how to learn about animals by observing and caring for them. Perhaps most importantly, Ms. Sanchez takes the time to create differentiated, creative lesson plans to “keep the class moving at a good pace while addressing students’ individual challenges.” Consider one young man who struggled with handwriting and composition. After expressing his frustration to Ms. Sanchez, they came up with an individualized plan to accommodate his concerns. Ms. Sanchez even showed this student her journal to illustrate that her handwriting was not perfect and that it didn’t need to be. What a fantastic show of moral support!
Ms. Sanchez is not just a rock star teacher; she also does an amazing job creating a safe, welcoming community for all students. As one parent notes, she “models what responsible, compassionate adulthood should look like.” She consistently leads community circles to engage her students in conversations about how to be a good friend, how to treat others with respect, and how to accept others’ differences. As one parent states, this “has improved my child’s attitude toward school, making mistakes, and also the quality of his friendship with others.” So many stories were shared with us of the extraordinary attentiveness and compassion with which Ms. Sanchez attended to her students’ emotional needs. We couldn’t sum up her contributions to building community better than one parent did: “She shows the kids that we’re all human: we do our best, make mistakes, get up and try again.”
And what better way to end than with a few lines from an original song that one of Ms. Sanchez’s students penned for her?
We’re gonna make it to the next level, level, level, and it’s all because of you!
You’re the best ever, oh. The best teacher eeeveer!
You made it the best year of my life. So just keep doing it alright, alright.
Just do the best you can for the next level.
Read about our Teacher of the Month program.