Name: Jamila Smith
Title: Elementary English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher
Number of years: 10+
Favorite quote or scripture: “For He will never leave you, nor forsake you.”
Educational background: BSW & MSW in Social Work, M.Ed. in Secondary Education, ESL Endorsement. I have previously served the elderly population, then did outreach and case management with children and adults. Later, I pursued teaching to instruct the adult and secondary (middle & high school) ESL population. Now, I’m currently teaching elementary ESL.
Bio: Originally from Massachusetts, moved to Indiana during high school where I graduated. Then lived in Ohio for 10 years until I returned to Indiana where I currently reside.
Tell me about your teaching style: I provide push- in and pull- out services at my school. Which means that I work with students in smaller groups in their homerooms and my classroom.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given about teaching? The best advice that I was given was to keep everything “strictly professional.”
In your opinion, what’s the best part of teaching? The best part of teaching is when I can work with students in smaller groups. I can accommodate their needs much easily. Also, the students will feel more comfortable and not as “exposed” because they are around their peers who are experiencing similar challenges. It’s also rewarding when I see growth. For example, I once worked with a “newcomer” (a student who was new to our country). She used to give one- worded responses whenever she asked for help or answered a question. At the end of the school year, she spoke in a complete sentence by saying, “I need to call my mom,” which was shocking, yet a proud moment.
What’s the hardest part of teaching? The hardest part about teaching is when there is not administrative support, and also when parents are not involved.
What is your first memory from school? My first memory of school was when I transferred to a new school in first grade. I was feeling intimidated, nervous and scared because I was away from my mom, and also because the environment was different. I didn’t know a soul. However, I soon established a circle with other peers and learned to readjust.