Mrs. Dominguez

Grades Taught:   1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Currently Teaching: 4th

Years teaching: 20

Years at Telesis:  5

Degrees held:

Bachelor of Arts

Masters in Curriculum

Campus Involvement:

Open House activities

Character Council Advisor

Other:

Teaching Certificate from Illinois

Student teaching program

 

Q. Why did you become a teacher?

A. I thought it would be fun to help kids succeed, teach them what I know, and what they should know socially and academically. I knew I wanted to be a teacher while I was in college.

Q. What’s the most important thing you want your students to take away from you or your class?

A. As long as it’s something positive. For instance, I hope that they can take something away from me that ensures some type of success in their life, whether it be academic, social, or emotional.

 Q. Who inspires you?

A. My mom – I am so much like her and she is the person I trust the most. She was a high school grammar teacher at one time. My dad was also a high school teacher at one time, but he decided to go into medicine. He inspires me because he did whatever he needed to take care of his family. 

My friends inspire me because they help me through tough times.  They are the ones who keep me going – my fun and enjoyment in life.  They drag me places even when I don’t want to go.

Q. Do prior students come back to talk to you? What do they say?\

A. I haven’t really been here long enough for Telesis kids to come back with an inspirational message. They will come back to say “hello”.   There was a Jr. High student who came back to talk to me when I taught in Illinois.  He told me that I was the teacher who made most of a difference in his life.  It shocked me because I thought he hated me!  It can be deceiving, the way they behave.  He was starting to become a behavior problem, but I kept plugging away at him – and I guess it finally meant something to him.

Q. What is your favorite part of teaching 4th grade?

A. At this age they are very independent, but they still need to be guided – so it’s a nice, happy medium. They haven’t yet developed those little attitudes that you see starting around the 6th grade level.

I liked teaching 2nd and 3rd grade, too, but my 4th graders have such good personalities. They’re at that developmental stage where they are still young, but growing in different ways.

Q. Why is math your favorite subject to teach?

A. It’s concrete, and easier to teach, compared to reading. I like to teach reading, too, but I love math.

It’s funny because I am even learning things.  When I learned math as a kid, everything was so different.  It was memorization based.  Now it’s all about explaining what you’re doing, digging deeper, and learning WHY you work a problem in a particular way.

Now students know what multiplication or fractions actually mean instead of just memorizing them.

What’s interesting is math makes more sense to me now that I am teaching it this way.  I don’t know if it was that I didn’t have good teachers, or if it was just the way math was taught when I was a kid, but it just makes more sense now.

Q. There is some controversy over common-core math. Is there any truth to those memes that you see floating out there on social media which show elementary math problems being worked in a very complicated way?

A. From the time Common Core came out until now, I have taught it, and I have never seen a problem like the ones some parents post online. So, I don’t even know where they are getting those problems. I love the way math is taught now.

I think parents just don’t understand, they don’t get it, because they were never taught that way.  So, their kids come home with these algorithm problems that they (parents) don’t understand, but the kids understand.  Students are learning more than one thing when they work the algorithms.  For example, the partial products algorithms, students are learning how to break the problem apart – it’s reinforcing place value while simultaneously learning multiplication. The concepts become clearer when students learn math this way. 

There is just a lot more critical thinking in Common Core. There are a lot more word/story problems and multi-step problems.  It’s really teaching students to think critically versus memorization.  

Q. What kind of kudos or comments have you received from parents.

A. There are parents whom I have kept in contact with on social media and sometimes they will comment on whatever educational thing I might post. They have said things like, “You were the most inspirational teacher my child ever had.” They have said that they wish I could come back to my old school.

It’s interesting because somehow rumors get out there that I am a difficult or mean teacher.  I think it’s because I take my job seriously, even when I am just walking on campus.  So, if I see a student who isn’t doing what they should be doing, I may get a little firm with them.  There is this reputation that develops, that I am mean. But then they get in my classroom and realize I am easy to work with, and that there is a reason why I make students stay on task.

Q. How does the profession give back to you when teachers give so much?

A. It’s really hard when parents complain and those are the days you can feel like throwing in the towel. If you’re a good teacher, it’s hard not to internalize negative comments. But then you watch the kids working together and you hear the conversations they are having. And you think, “Wow, I did that.”  At the beginning of the year, they couldn’t really work together in a group.  These are the things that just strike you, that now these kids are working effectively together.  You see them grow. 

We recently did the Benchmark tests and nobody in my AM group failed it.  So, to see the academic progress my students make is very rewarding. 

Teaching is probably the most rewarding profession, but at the same time, it can be the most discouraging because of all the other stuff, when it comes to some parents. 

But then there those parents who trust you, understand you, and make sure to let you know that they appreciate you – and those are things that make it worthwhile, too.

Some days you want to pull your hair out, but most days you are so happy to see your students’ progress and growth.

I can say one thing for sure, teaching is never boring

Some people who are not “in the trenches” don’t realize how much it takes to be a teacher.  It takes strong management skills to teach.  Some people think anyone could just walk into a classroom and take over.  It’s not that easy.

Q. What is your favorite thing about Telesis?

A. I like the independence that I am given. I like that I am given expectations and I am trusted to do what I am supposed to do.

The small class size makes a huge difference. I taught smaller classes and larger classes at my previous school.  Though I’ve always had strong classroom management skills, it is much easier to control smaller class sizes, but most importantly, I can give more one-on-one attention.