Taking Ownership by Leading By Example

Taking Ownership by Leading By Example
Hero of the Herd Mrs. Mendoza

     When asked how does she inspire, nurture, challenge, and prepare her students for academic success, Brittany Mendoza explained that she follows a motto that she learned during her teen years as a middle schooler - to lead by example. "How can we inspire if we are not inspired? How can we challenge if we ourselves are not challenged?," said Mendoza. "The same can be said about nurturing and preparing. I would like to think that these four characteristics are all based around our relationships with students."
     Mendoza, who was chosen as Mundy Mill's Heroes of the Herd winner, is an ESOL teacher for grades K through 4, a role that is new to her this year. The past two years she taught fourth grade; and prior to relocating to Mundy Mill, she taught fourth grade at Gainesville Exploration Academy for two years. When she was selected to teach ESOL, she immediately immersed herself into her new role, participating in professional learning opportunities that enabled her to become a more successful teacher. "My goal for myself this year is to understand and work on my role as a co-teacher in my classes. This is a new position for me, and I am always looking and learning strategies and more efficient ways to be a co-teacher."
     Mendoza works closely with her students to help them accomplish their goals. They celebrate successes together, work through issues together, and encourage each other to reach their goals. "I think it is important to use strategies in which students can take ownership in their learning. If there is something that might interest them, like a current event, we will talk about it and make connections. They can really feel what they are learning if they have that connection and ownership in their learning. I think when they see my excitement about what we are learning it puts them in a positive place to open themselves up to knowledge."
     Inspired by excellent teachers who left a tremendous impression upon her throughout her educational career, she wants to ensure that she extends the same impression upon her students as well. "I saw how loving and caring my teachers were and how they made it their mission to teach myself and my peers. That left an impression on me and helped me decide that I wanted to do that for others as well."
     For Mendoza, Mundy Mill Academy is a nurturing, caring place where students, staff, and parents motivate and encourage each other. Together they represent a unique community but most importantly - a close-knit family. Each day at Mundy Mill poses as a new journey for Mendoza - one that is filled with excitement and anticipation. "At the beginning of each year I give myself a pep talk. It usually goes like this, “You get to meet new faces, get to know them, get to teach them. It won’t be easy and you will not leave school on time everyday but it will all be worth it. Everything. Will. Be. Worth. It. You got this!”

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