3-31-2017 – Meet Jeniffer Garcia! She is a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) teacher at Harada Elementary.

This is her third year as a second grade DLI teacher. Prior to starting at Harada, she worked as a Temp Specialist with fourth graders.

When Ms. Garcia was in high school, her youngest brother was going through elementary school.

“Coming from a single parent household where my mother had to work, I was very hands-on in my brother’s education,” she said, “It was then that I first saw myself going into education.”

She decided to pursue a career in education. For three years, she served as an Americorps member where she worked with preschoolers.

“It was while working with them that I knew I had found my calling,” she said, “While completing my credential program, I learned about Dual Language Immersion programs and was immediately driven to it.”

Ms. Garcia earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts in 2011 from San Francisco State University. In 2013, she received a Multiple Subjects Credential and Bilingual Authorization from California State University, Fullerton. Last year, she graduated from Brandman University with a Masters in Teaching and Learning.

As a child, she went through a bilingual program to ease her transition to learning the English language.

“What two-way bilingual programs achieve now is to be proficient in English and a second language; for many, their first language,” she said, “Our world is so interconnected and languages within communities are easily lost, that I knew I wanted to be a part of this.”

Teachers reach their students in different levels.

“You become more than a teacher to your students, you become a mentor, a friend, someone they can open up to, and for me, building those connections is what being a teacher is all about,” she said, ‘”My role is not just to teach but to help shape who they are becoming and seeing this in the course of the year they are with me is very fulfilling.”

Her teaching philosophy includes promoting a positive environment where risks are welcomed and learned from. Her role in the classroom is that of a facilitator. Building a relationship with her students is very important to Ms. Garcia.

“Students are naturally curious and my job is to help guide their learning as much as possible,” she said, “My hope is to instill a love for learning and foster a community in my classroom.”

She invests in learning about them in different environments and enjoys learning about who they are outside of her classroom.

No two days are alike in Ms. Garcia’s classroom.

“No matter how much one may plan, the students dictate the direction of each lesson and the interactions we have,” she said.

A goal for this year includes taking more time for herself.

“I like going out to catch a good movie, enjoy concerts, and traveling when I’m off-track,” she said.

Her favorite inspirational quote is from H. Jackson Brown in the movie P.S. I Love You.

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

“This is one of my favorite quotes because it speaks about taking chances and pursuing what you want,” she said, “Put in the context that yesterdays are in your rear-view mirror that missed opportunities can be regrettable when not taken, it reminds me there’s boldness in choices and to look forward to tomorrow without fear of getting out of your comfort zone.”

Here are a few words of encouragement from Ms. Garcia:

“In the words of Kid President, Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody.”