Joining Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf is Isabel Suárez, as our Director of Education. Ms. Suarez has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, from Florida International University; and, a Master’s in Early Childhood Education, and an Educational Specialist in Special Education with a concentration in Autism, from Nova Southeastern University.
As far back as middle school, I wanted to be a teacher and a mom. At the time, I didn’t imagine myself as a 30-year veteran teacher, the mom of three adults ages 22-33, or grandmother of two young children, yet—here I am! Life certainly has a way of taking us down the path it wants us to follow.
My oldest son came into my life as a student in my first teaching position—while I was substituting for a teacher on maternity leave. I stepped into the role of mom unofficially in 1991, until he was adopted in 1994. His sister was born in 1995 and his brother just two years later in 1997. Ups and downs took us to a place where it was just the four of us—my youngest finishing elementary school, my middle starting middle school, my oldest serving in the Marines. My job as a mom now became more than I ever anticipated.
Teaching has always come a close second to raising my own children. After all, in every respect, the hundreds of kids that have sat in my classroom over the years, are also “my kids.” In the classroom, just like in life, the most important thing is connecting. It’s not just, what I teach them, but how I make them feel. They need to know that they can count on me whenever they need to. In establishing connections, my kids feel safe. When they feel safe, they learn. Where do our connections come from? Shared experiences—and books provide some of the most wonderful experiences I have shared with all of my kids.
Books are vehicles for sharing, for learning, for imagining, for dreaming. They are the catalysts that lead to conversations about important events, doors to explore new ideas as well as places, and foundations for building knowledge about a variety of subjects. As you can imagine, with three kids and 30 years in a classroom I have quite a few books! The number is pretty impressive (maybe even a little insane) but, I am always looking for new books to share with my kids.
I am excited to share my insights on books, my recommendations for helping to make children lifelong readers and learners, and maybe, just maybe, some entertaining tales of life in a Kindergarten class. I look forward to chatting with you in the comments!