Cece and EJ: Do you have any memories of our Kindergarten class? I (EJ) remember making a tree out of pretzels for the 100 day celebration, and I (Cece) remember the ice cream party at the end of the year. It seems so long ago!
Mrs. Ramos: I love making lasting memories for the students to treasure! I remember all of it: We had reading buddies, built gingerbread houses and invited grandparents to our classroom to share their holiday memories, made green eggs and ham, and watched caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies. We then released them into the garden.
What are your favorite graduation traditions at Waters, for both the kindergarten class and the 8th graders?
I really enjoy seeing the students take pictures in their cap & gowns. I especially love the t-shirts the Kindergarten students create and get to wear on their last day of school. It warms my heart when I see students in older grades still wear their shirts to school. It's such a great keepsake to have, hopefully you still have your shirts.
Does time move really quickly for you? It must feel weird to have a class for kindergarten and then all of a sudden they're going to high school! When we look at the kindergarteners it's hard to believe we were ever that small!
Time does move really quickly and we must remember to treasure each moment. My 1st class of students at Waters has just completed their 1st year of college. Having a 25 & 13 yr old is a good reminder for me to know how fast time just passes by. I enjoy seeing all of my previous students in the hallway, they will always have a special place in my heart.
Has Waters changed a lot in the last 9 years?
When I started working at Waters, they were still building the annex and we had new swales and a field to enjoy. It has continued to grow and thrive. We had playgrounds installed which have now been replaced with a beautiful addition. I watched as the pizza oven was created and took part in the mosaic mural installation at the front entrance of the school. We have had some challenging years at Waters, but it continues to be a wonderful place to be a teacher. I have great colleagues and a supportive administration, and every year I have the best students and families. So what has stayed the same is my appreciation for being a part of the Waters community!
What do you love most about teaching at Waters?
I truly love working with kids. I love their curiosity and love of learning. I love watching their eyes light up when they realize they can read. Kindergarten provides the foundational skills they will use throughout their lives and I love being a part of that process. Every student that has ever crossed my path is the number one reason for what I do.
Did you know in high school that you wanted to be a teacher?
Being a teacher has always been a dream of mine. I remember being 8 or 9 and playing school with the neighborhood kids, they were all my students back then. Being a teacher has allowed me the opportunity to become a lifelong learner.
Speaking of high school, where did you go?
I went to Madonna High School. It was a Catholic all girls school that no longer exists. My 2 sisters and I all went to the same high school. I grew up in Albany Park and my home school was Roosevelt, but my parents wanted all of their daughters at the same school.
What were some other professions you were interested in?
I briefly thought about being a travel agent or airline stewardess because I love to travel and thought that would be the best way to visit new places.
Ok, final question: What's your biggest piece of advice for us as we leave Waters?
Always remember where you started. Your educational path will lead to many adventures including hurdles and victories, so own each moment as it will prepare you for the future. Have fun, show respect and be kind. Please come back to visit me--I will always be here to listen.
Thanks for answering our questions and for being the first teacher we ever had at Waters!!
And from all of us at Waters Today, thank you so much to everyone who has participated in Teacher Feature this year. We've had so much fun getting to know some of the many wonderful people who make our school so special, and we look forward to sharing more interviews next year. Happy Summer!