Education is Power

“Up in the mornin’ and out to school
The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule” 

[Lyrics to “School Days”, Chuck Berry]

In the month of March we salute and thank our local teachers for dedicating their lives to empowering our youth. 

Jennifer Ramos

Manatee Bay Elementary

5th grade Math/Science/Writing  

When was that “a-ha” moment when you knew your calling was to be a teacher? Can you actually recall the moment?

I remember my “a-ha” moment being when my kindergarten teacher at Pembroke Pines Elementary, Mrs. Bergstrom, comforted me as I went to class crying for about two weeks because I was scared. She was so nurturing, I knew I wanted to provide students with that same comfort. I remember when I was a little girl playing pretend school at home with my neighbor, who is also a teacher, and my teddy bears and Cabbage Patch dolls as my students, talking to them the same way Mrs. Bergstrom spoke to me.

What defines a good teacher?

There are so many factors to being a great teacher. You never know what is going on in a child’s life, so the most important thing is building trust and a rapport that you can develop with your students. Listening to your students is key. Children have a lot to say and it’s amazing when you let them have a say in their education—you will see great things happen.  

What was plan B for you—if not a teacher what other profession would you have enjoyed?

I honestly never thought about doing anything else. I loved babysitting when I was young, I was involved in the “Little People” classes at McArthur High School that allowed me to work with children in preschool and elementary school. Mrs. Ferraro, who was the teacher of these classes, was a big inspiration for me.

What’s a favorite word and why?

“Inspire” is my favorite word because you have to be able to inspire children when you are their teacher.

Okay, so you’re back in elementary school…what was your favorite lunch? Mine was pizza on Thursdays, I’d count down the days for it…and for you?

Oh definitely my favorite school lunch was a fluffernutter sandwich. That creamy peanut butter with marshmallow fluff was my everyday go-to lunch.

What’s the one motto, or saying that your students can associate with you?

Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.

Dean L. Losasso

Banyan Elementary

Aftercare Director, Boys II Men Mentor, PTA President

What are your thoughts on the situation in our schools today? From your side of the looking glass how can we make things better?

In this day and age kids need to feel safe and have a nurturing and comfortable environment. We need more parental involvement and support. When the teachers have the support from the parent, working together we will attain the same goal, which is making sure the child meets the highest quality standard.

If someone asked a six-year-old version of you what you wanted to be when you grew up, are you living out that dream? 

I wanted to be James Bond “Ultimate Spy” but ever since I was eight years old I was working with children. My first experience was helping out with U-6 soccer. As I grew up, people told me that I was good with kids and I should pursue that and now [I’ve spent] 18 years working for the Broward County School Board.

What is the best thing about being a teacher? What do you most enjoy? 

Being able to mold these children and reinforcing positive behavior. Watching them grow from five years old to practically a teenager. I love our Boys II Men mentoring group. Getting a smaller group together and having intimate conversations about life are times when I don’t feel like I’m actually working.

What’s the hardest thing about being a teacher most people might not realize?

Paperwork! We would love to be able to work with children all day if it wasn’t for the paperwork.

If you could thank a teacher that was a positive influence in your life, who would that be? 

My mother has been the best influence in my life. Raising me as a single mother wasn’t easy but she is the main reason I am the man I have become.

Mention your “drop the mic” moment in school…was it winning the spelling bee, a science test, being in a play…asking the coolest girl in school to prom…

Being named Captain of my high school soccer team.

Jennifer Moser

Glades Middle School

English Language Arts & Peer Counseling 

What was your nickname growing up? Did you dislike it or come to terms with it?

Jennie, and yes, I liked it and my family still calls me by that name today.

Had you not pursed this profession, what was plan B?

In high school and through college, I founded an organization called H.E.L.P. (Helping Every Little Person). We worked with foster, shelter home, and underprivileged children. In college, I also had a job at a shelter home for homeless children. If I didn’t teach, I would have worked in a job in this sector or ran my H.E.L.P. organization since I made it a 501(c)(3) and incorporated it. 

If you could give a shout out to one teacher that was a positive influence on you, who would that be?

Cynthia Fritz. She was my 10th grade Honors English teacher. She got me passionate about the subject, which is why I teach English. I went back and shared this with her after I graduated from college.

Did you lean more toward the jocks, the nerds, or the thespians?

I don’t really think I had one group of friends. I hung out with all crowds and still do.

What was the one subject in school you loooooved? And of course, what’s the one you disliked most?

English was my favorite of course and Math was the worst and still is to this day. 

Dr. Carlos Pulido

American Heritage School

Pre Med Program Director

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an educator?

Since I’ve always been involved with the Pre Med program at Heritage, the most rewarding part is when the students get accepted to either the Pre Med program at their dream school or into an honors medical program. Many students stay in their UCD after graduating and I have received many emails and phone calls when they get accepted to medical school.

What’s the one gift or token given to you by a student you still keep?

I keep a Montblanc pen from an amazing student that worked so hard with the Pre Med club to create a better environment for hospitalized children with cancer at a local hospital. 

When did you realize teaching was your calling?

It’s something instilled into every physician. From medical school we learn to educate patients and at some point we get medical students to mentor. 

What’s the one pet peeve you have when it comes to being an educator?

When someone doesn’t try and makes all sorts of excuses for their failure and on top of that they think they are entitled to a better grade. I do believe in second chances, but people have to earn things. Also, parents need to be involved in their kid’s education at home. Help them study [and] monitor their social media time when they should be concentrating in studying.

Who is the teacher that most influenced you growing up?

My chemistry teacher at the university put so much effort [in making] the class easy to understand. I taught chemistry at a college before and I used some of his methods. I know I still remember a lot of chemistry because of him.

Finish this sentence…Happiness to me looks, sounds and feels like this: 

Going out and spending time with my daughter when she is in town. I am so proud of her; it just brings me so much joy spending quality time with her. 

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