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For Grand View’s Science Specialist Tanya Sanchez, winning her school’s “Teacher of the Year” award was quite the surprise. Previous winners are typically classroom teachers. Tanya’s recognition showcases the importance of elementary science education across our District.
We recently interviewed Tanya about teaching, Grand View and MBEF.
Q: What is your background in teaching and what brought you to Grand View?
Tanya: I had been teaching high school students for over eight years and found myself teaching summer school biology at Mira Costa. There were no openings at the high school at that time, but there was an opening for a K-5 science specialist. Intrigued and excited, I thought it would be a great challenge for me! I’ve been working here now for over five years.
Q: How do you feel about your job now as science specialist to Elementary School students?
Tanya: This job is amazing! Every day feels fresh and I am able to be extremely creative with my teaching style. I absolutely love being able to reach kids at multiple levels. These past five years have been a time of huge growth for me, both professionally and personally. Nothing in this job ever stays stagnant. When a lesson works well, I get very excited and can’t wait to improve it again the next year. These five years have gone by so fast.
Q: Can you tell us a story of something that has happened with your students that resonated with you?
Tanya: Elementary school students are so true to themselves and can sometimes say the funniest things. In addition, they see things in ways that I just haven’t thought about before. During a lesson on camouflage and adaptation to a group of 3rd graders, I asked my students if they understood the term “adaptation”. One girl raised her hand and commented, “That’s when you don’t know your birth parents but your new parents still love you.” I found that comment so cute and showed how hard these kids were trying to grasp the new information to which they are constantly exposed and to relate it to their everyday lives. Elementary school kids are so light-hearted and approach life with an open attitude.
Q: Through parent donations, MBEF provides grants to elementary schools for Science Specialists like yourself. What message from an insiders’ perspective do you have for parents?
Tanya: It is a joy to teach your children as their curiosity and their promise are the best rewards for a teacher. Teaching is very challenging and eye opening. I feel that this “Teacher of the Year” award shows recognition for all the elementary school specialists across the district. Our peers on the teaching staff can see what an amazing team we have and see how we can positively impact our students’ learning experiences. I fully understand how difficult it is to build and maintain a science program like this, and it is not possible without the support of our parents through MBEF. Thank you for your support. This program helps to show how collaboration with a focused goal can produce amazing things.
Q: How did the “Teacher of the Year” recognition make you feel?
Tanya: I was shocked when I heard about the award because I am not a classroom teacher. Overall, I felt this honor showed that the other teachers on campus truly appreciated what I am trying to achieve in Science here at Grand View. It is truly humbling to get this award from my co-workers. As I said before, I feel this award is really recognition for the entire district’s team of Science Specialists. We have such an amazing teaching staff and are so thankful for MBEF and our parents for supporting us.