To better understand what it takes to become a teacher, it can be helpful to hear other teachers' perspectives. That is why K12JobsNJ contacted Spanish Teacher Caridad Salicrup-Youssef to interview her regarding why she chose her career path and what it is like to live a day in the life of a teacher.
Q. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
A. My name is Caridad Salicrup-Youssef. I am a Spanish Teacher in Hudson County. I enjoy teaching because I help build students' language skills as well as prepare them for the 21st Century job market.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
A. My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing when a student succeeds, especially when they overcome their struggles with the course material. I see them grow intellectually and encourage them not to give up so easily.
Q. What inspired you to become a teacher?
A. I was inspired by my third-grade teacher. She was a very patient individual and saw my many struggles and my enthusiasm to want to learn. I had to learn a new language, overcome a speech impediment and was often hospitalized due to a physical handicap and corrective surgeries to be able to walk. My teacher helped to encourage my studies while I was home recovering.
Q. Since the pandemic, many students have continued facing social and emotional issues. What are you doing to try to address these issues?
A. Since the pandemic, I often encourage my students to do well by giving them many reasons to aim for success and help them to have a positive outlook. I address, reflect and seek their output. Many of my students seek approval and acceptance yet want to be reserved and socially close off to hide their emotions because they have lost many friends and family members. I often remind students that our school has many services to help them adjust. learn and create study groups to assist and reinforce any subject area they need help in achieving their goals.
Q. Can you describe a typical day as a high school Spanish teacher?
A. A typical day starts off with many students arriving late to the first-period class. Some students do not eat breakfast, are sleepy, upset, and not focused to start the day; therefore, I greet and encourage them by reminding them it is a new day. I have them pull their computers out to begin their work. For those students that are experiencing difficulty, I ask them on a personal level if they need assistance and if they are feeling well. These actions are repeated throughout all classes during the scheduled day of school.
Q. What can school districts do to support someone in your role?
A. I believe that school districts and their faculty members need to work as a team in addressing many of our student concerns and reach out to parents and other liaisons to help establish a better learning environment. Policies, rules, and following up will ensure a better and safer atmosphere for all when addressing a student's deeper concerns that may require external outside of school district help.
Q. What is something you wish people knew about teaching Spanish?
A. I want people to know that Spanish class is a vital part of being able to communicate in another language of 21 Spanish-speaking countries and that it also helps students to connect their cognitive pathways and better help them to achieve more goals and structure progressively the brain's capacity to recall information quickly, especially in cases of head traumas and injuries and recovery timing. Language helps to boost learning, acceptance of others, and communication, all in all, it is a win-win situation.