With a smile beaming on her face, Ms. Jaime of Roosevelt Elementary is living out her dreams daily in the presences of her students as a first-year, 5th grade science teacher. A recent graduate of the University of Houston and past recipient of the Houston ISD Teach Forward scholarship, this school year also marks Ms. Jaime’s first official year as an educator.
Her journey to becoming a teacher began when Ms. Jaime was still a young student who participated in a variety of afterschool activities. Beyond her participation in school and extracurricular activities, Ms. Jamie found herself becoming a voice for her fellow students. Her passion for school would eventually become the inspiration for Ms. Jaime to pursue her career in education. “I am a product of HISD,” said Ms. Jaime. “I wanted to come back to my community. I knew that.”
Coming off from a school year that was beyond anything that she could have imagined, Ms. Jaime admits that she would not want to change a thing. Ms. Jaime appreciates the challenges she had, and the experience has led to positive engagement with her students. “It was something else to say the least,” said Ms. Jaime. “This year has taught me to be extremely patient. […] We’re here with students, and they want to [move forward]. I need to make sure that I’m here with my students,” said Ms. Jaime.
Some of the creative ways that Ms. Jaime kept her students engaged included creating games and cheer challenges out of the class lessons or topics presented. Ms. Jaime believes that bringing enjoyment into the learning experience heightens their senses and grows the student’s curiosity about science.
“They don’t realize that science is everywhere. Every single day, and [in everything] that they interact [with],” said Ms. Jaime. In addition, Ms. Jaime adjusted to the limitations created from the pandemic by encouraging her students to use household or basic materials for their assignments, and re-formatted lesson plans and presentations when technology was limited.
As a Latina teaching at a dual language school, Ms. Jaime recalls her own childhood experience with overcoming barriers to communicate in English. Now, she appreciates her experience because she can empower her students to not only embrace being bilingual, but to go beyond that. “I always tell them, ‘You want to make sure that you have at least two! Strive for three! Trilingual is the new bilingual!’” said Ms. Jaime.
Ultimately, Ms. Jaime believes that her impact in the classroom is credited to being flexible in the face of adversity and prioritizing the best interest of the students. “Embrace the change and be open minded about it.”
Ms. Jaime is one of the six Houston Independent School District (HISD) teacher finalists of the 2020 – 2021 alliantgroup-HISD Elementary Science Teacher Award! This award was created to reward local teachers who, through innovative lesson plans that emphasize both the importance and fun aspects of science, are increasing student achievement and engagement.
Five of the finalists received a cash prize of $1,300 and $500 for their classroom and the grand prize winner received a cash prize of $3,500 and $500 to put toward improving their classroom!
The Blue Heart Fund was created by alliantgroup’s CEO—Dhaval Jadav—with the goal of giving back to our community and extending STEM-education opportunities to students across the nation.
About the Author
Ivy Okoro is the newest member of the alliantgroup Corporate Citizenship team, joining the company in June 2021! She is a native Houstonian and communications professional with robust career experience in various industries – including Oil & Gas, Non-Profit, Media, and Marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communications from the University of Houston and has notably served as managing project lead for the annual “Original” MLK, Jr. Birthday Day Parade in Downtown Houston. In addition to supporting STEM education in Houston community, Ivy enjoys volunteering for various causes year-round, singing, traveling, cooking, home spa days, and a good kickboxing workout!