Educator Spotlight with Angelica Medina
Meet Angelica Medina
Dual Language Elementary Educator at Oak Terrace Elementary in Highland Park, IL
What grades do you teach and/or what is your title/role?
Grade 3 Dual Language Teacher
What school, district or institution do you work for? Location?
North Shore School District 112 servicing Highwood and Highland Park, Illinois
Who inspired you to become an educator?
My third- and fifth-grade teachers at Oak Terrace, the school where I teach now: Mrs. Bishov, Ms. Boho, Mrs. Mordini, and Mrs. Wells. They encouraged and saw the best in me, and I credit them for recognizing my full potential. I can look back on those years and remember how their passion engaged and inspired me. They showed me the importance of building and maintaining relationships with peers.
What motivates you?
Continual growth and learning motivate me. These students are our future leaders, and it’s imperative to provide them with lifelong skills and opportunities.
What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?
Be flexible, have a work/life balance, and prioritize. It’s important to enjoy the journey but also listen to your body and mind.
What do you wish more people knew about being an educator?
I used to think it was an easy job with summers off until I left the business world and entered education. Being an educator is an undervalued yet invaluable profession that supports all other occupations. Educators spend many hours outside of their contract planning, earning advanced degrees and certifications, and continuously learning.
What do you love most about Bridges curriculum/math apps/MLC?
When I was on the math curriculum committee, I was an instant fan of the program due to the development it provided by weaving together the standards. Having taught second grade Bridges, and now third, it’s nice to be able to reference steps that lead to the math progression, have discussions, and apply the different practices to fit the needs of the student.
What do you love most about working with students?
I love helping students achieve their full potential and seeing that aha moment. I‘m also passionate about teaching second-language learners. I love running into my students in the community, hearing about their success and leadership, and reminiscing.
What’s your math story? In other words, how do you feel about math and why?
Looking back, I enjoyed math in the primary grades but do remember having to put forth more effort, which landed me in accelerated math for a few years. When I reached seventh grade, I experienced a significant loss of confidence and started struggling. I would seek assistance from my teachers all the way until college. It was a statistics and finance professor who helped me experience different ways to be successful with numbers and application. So when I started teaching Bridges, I had to retrain my brain from the traditional or “old school” way I learned, and it made more sense. I love how Bridges provides different avenues to approach a problem because what makes sense to one student may not to another. Bridges recognizes the different learning styles and embraces them. Obviously, the one and the only way I was being taught did not click with me. I do believe that if a teacher had shown me a different method, not only their way, math would have made more sense, my frustration would have subsided, and my math journey would have been more positive.