Educator Spotlight: Ivette Carnota-Costa
Meet Ivette Carnota-Costa
What grade do you teach? (Or what is your title or role?)
I am a 2nd-grade bilingual teacher.
What school, district, or institution do you work for? Location?
I teach in Plainfield Elementary School, District 62, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Who inspired you to become an educator?
I was inspired by my elementary teacher (the same teacher from 1st to 3rd grade). I still remember the date I learned how to read and write. My reading habits, my handwriting, and the way I teach are reflections of her. She is a true example of teachers' positive impact on their students.
What motivates you?
My bilingual students (or Bilingual SuperHeroes) are resilient and intelligent, keeping me going daily. They are the reason I teach. Witnessing their growth and shining faces when they understand and can complete a task (that doesn't seem very easy) when everything comes into perfect synchrony using the learned strategy. I always remind them that I am here not only to teach them the curriculum but to provide them with the tools needed for them to thrive and be successful in their lives.
What advice would you give to your first-year teacher self?
Remember, your students always listen and learn even when you think they are not. Second grade is fundamental, and they will never forget what you taught them. Teaching is a work of heart; education is about making your students thrive.
What do you wish more people knew about being an educator?
Being an educator is more than just teaching curriculum. We wear many hats during the day, even when we are not in school. The little moments we shared with our students, the emotion you feel when they return after going to their next level (middle school and high school), the dandelions after recess, the awards they make with their hands for you, the connections they make about everything they have learned. And watching them blossom is a rare privilege reserved for teachers only.
What do you love most about Bridges curriculum, Bridges math apps, or MLC?
I love the hands-on activities and the connections and interrelations between curriculum areas (literacy, science, etc.). The fun they have while learning in the Work Places or the "aha" moments we share during Number Corner. The students' ownership of the connections they make daily by being able to explain their reasoning.
What do you love most about working with students?
That is the most challenging question because it is everything, but if I had to choose, I would say their resilience, their thirst for learning, the way their faces and eyes shine when they learn, and especially when they know they have mastered a concept or a strategy. The happiness they bring to my life just by knowing I have contributed by giving them the tools to thrive as students and to be kind humans.
What’s your math story? In other words, how do you feel about math and why?
I had a beautiful relationship with math, as I wanted to become a mathematician when I graduated high school in Cuba. After becoming a teacher, I have experienced the importance of understanding basic math skills for everyday life. We live in a math world; we experience math every minute of our lives, and that same passion is the one I noticed when my students realized math is everywhere. Those "yays" I listened to when I announce, "Now it's time for math" are part of my little joys.
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