By Melissa Beneke The education program at Aurora University is a popular choice for many students. Alumni Ana Maria Barreto graduated in 2011 with an Elementary Education degree.
Today, she is working in her field of study as a Second Grade Bilingual Teacher at Oak Park Elementary School in East Aurora.
Barreto sees her experience at Aurora University as a big part in her career today.
“Being able to student teach in a second grade classroom and have my clinical in a second grade bilingual classroom helped me stand out for this position,” Barreto said.
She also said her experience in the Communities in Schools program was important. She gained familiarity with the East Aurora School District where she currently works.
“When I was asked if I knew what the community was like, I was able to answer that I had been working in it for the last four years.” Barreto said.
Barreto said that despite her knowledge in both English and Spanish and her knowledge of the community, these were not her biggest advantages when job searching.
“When it came down to the second interview, there were still a number of others who also spoke both languages who were competing for the same job.” Barreto said. “I need to give credit where credit is due. As a Christian, I truly believe I would not have my job had God not opened the doors.”
Barreto’s time at AU really taught her a lot about the different research based practices used in schools as well. During professional development days, Barreto with other teachers discuss this practices and she has enough background knowledge from her time in the education program to really understand her colleagues.
Teaching can be difficult. Barreto says the hardest part about teaching is trying to give each student what they need with limited resources including time and energy to teach.
Although difficult, teaching can also be very rewarding. The most rewarding part for her is getting to know her students and being a part of their journey in life.
“To be a part of a child’s life is an extreme blessing.” Barreto said. “Not only do I see them grow intellectually but I see them grow socially and emotionally.”
For Barreto, her time at AU helped her to know everything she needed to know about teaching, but her trust in God and her passion for teaching helped her get the job she wanted.