MODESTO, Calif. — Nancy Oliveira is a kindergarten teacher at Westport Elementary in Modesto. She's taught kindergarten for 10 years, but she's got 24 years of teaching in the classroom under her belt. She says kindergarteners are truly special.
"I just love kindergarten. In the beginning, they're just like blank slates they don't know anything and by the end of the year, they learn so much and they start reading and it's like magic in the springtime," Oliveira said.
ABC10 asked Oliveira a few questions to get a better understanding of her career in teaching young students.
Q: How long have you been teaching?
Oliveira: I've been teaching for 24 years. Fourteen years of teaching first grade and 10 years of teaching kindergarten.
Q: Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
Oliveira: My favorite teacher growing up was my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Valli Wigt.
Q: What's your favorite student success story?
Oliveira: My favorite student success story is a student I had two years ago. He came to me as a very angry and defiant child. It took some tough love and patience to change his attitude towards adults and other children. I used strategies from Nurtured Heart, a social-emotional learning curriculum like Toolbox, and lots of positive reinforcement. He was challenging; however, by the end of the year, he became a very happy child who loved school, he loved to learn new things, and he loved to share his experiences with me and others.
Q: What advice do you have for the future teachers of America?
Oliveira: Be patient. Students will learn and grow, each at their own rate of speed. Focus on being a good communicator and making strong connections with your students. Lastly, love what you do! Share your passion for education with your students.
Q: What advice do you have for parents?
Oliveira: Your children are our future, it is so very important for you to stay involved in their education and form a strong working partnership with their teachers. Be a pillar of support, as parental encouragement plays a crucial role in overall student success.
Congratulations again to our December Teacher of the Month, Nancy Oliveira!