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Allapattah-born teacher, 25 years and going

admin | 11/2/2011, 9:22 a.m.

While the teaching profession has its many demands, one educator is holding strong in her field. Sonya Gardner, 49, has been an elementary school teacher at Ojus Elementary School for over 25 years and has shown no signs of slowing down. My greatest inspiration to join the teaching profession began early in my life by volunteering in the childcare center where with my mother worked.I also had the opportunity to work in the YMCA aftercare program during my high school years.Having these enjoyable experiences they made an impressionable mark on my life. My greatest inspiration to join the teaching profession began early in my life by volunteering in the childcare center where with my mother worked, she said. I also had the opportunity to work in the YMCA aftercare program during my high school years.Having these enjoyable experiences made an impressionable mark on my life. Gardner, who grew up in the heart of the Allapattah neighborhood, is the mother of one son and has been teaching since she graduated from the University of Florida. But she admits that everyone cant be a teacher. No, everyone cant be a teacher, she said. Anyone can impart knowledge at any level of altitude. Teaching is relational and reciprocal. Teachers must display a high level of interest in the subject matter and the students.To teach goes beyond the mere delivery, but yet offering students differentiated approaches and engaging them in the learning experience. A teacher takes the time to research extension activities that students may participate in order to connect the relevance in the experience and begin to understand how the information can be used in their everyday lives. Gardners teaching expertise stretches through third, fourth and fifth grade. Currently, she teaches kindergarten. Over her years of experience, Gardner does admit that the landscape of education has changed. The teaching profession has changed in the sense that academic freedom and creativity has been shackled out of the hands of the educator, she said.The classroom is plagued with tight timelines, intense high stakes test that are laced with punitive repercussion for the classroom teacher and negative marks on communities. Teachers are expected to bring about parallel result in students despite the sincere consideration of their backgrounds.I must express that though the platform has intensified the key component is still the same, children.This valuable opportunity to teach is to offer the best opportunity to all students that they may learn and grow to become productive and self-sustaining individuals in society that care about others as well. By Randy Grice rgrice@miamitimesonline.com