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Esposito’s Dedication to Teaching Reveals Greatness in her Students

Posted on June 6th, 2014

2014 EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD RECIPIENT, CARMEN ESPOSITO
John Nevins Andrews School | Potomac Conference
Grade 1 Teacher

Esposito4The day Carmen Esposito was asked to step in and teach a cradle roll class in place of the absent Sabbath School instructors was the day she knew she was born to be a teacher. The twelve-year-old loved teaching the class so much that she began preparing lessons in advance, and it wasn’t long before she became the youngest Sabbath School teacher in the church.

When it was time for Esposito to choose a field of study, she happily announced her decision to dedicate her life to teaching—much to the disappointment of her father, the doctor, and her mother, the nurse. Esposito’s parents wanted her to follow them into the medical field, but more than that, they believed their daughter, the elementary and high school valedictorian, was too smart to be “just a teacher.”

“It took some effort to convince them that I was called to be a teacher and that I believe you have to be very smart to be a good one,” Esposito said.

Esposito’s entire teaching career at John Nevins Andrews School (JNA) serves as proof that she is not only smart enough to be a good teacher; she is smart enough to be a great one.

Esposito2“The name Carmen Esposito is synonymous with excellence,” said Cavel Melbourne, principal at JNA. “When you meet Carmen, you quickly notice how she makes you and everyone around her feel like they are the most important person in the room. She takes so much pride and care in what she does.”

Just as she prepared her lessons as a Sabbath School teacher, Esposito can often be found in her classroom during the weekends preparing lessons and making everything just right for her first-grade students.

“If you walk into Carmen’s orderly and friendly classroom you quickly notice she manages her class well,” Melbourne said.

Esposito uses new teaching strategies to further in-class learning. One such strategy involves posting the lesson objective to make students aware of it. This helps them know what they are expected to learn, make connections between present and previous lessons, and develop higher thinking skills. Esposito also uses multiple approaches to teach reading. Her students rotate through reading centers, work in small groups, and take responsibility for their own learning, communicating with the teacher as needed.

Esposito1In addition to these strategies, Esposito also integrates technology into the curriculum. Students use computers at one of the reading centers and for other learning activities, and Esposito uses online math resources with the “Go Math” program.

“She speaks so excitedly about doing this and expresses disappointment when the Internet is down and she is not able to go online,” Melbourne said. “On such occasions, a great teacher uses an alternative approach to teaching the lessons and that is precisely what Carmen does.”

The fruit of Esposito’s labor can be seen through her students’ advancement. Each year, her students show a year’s growth or more, which is consistent with the findings of the Cognitive Genesis Study, a study that indicates students in U.S. Adventist schools perform a half-grade level better than the national average.

“It is very evident that she believes in her students and in the fact that every child can learn,” Melbourne said.

Esposito3Esposito has played a pivotal role in promoting JNA and recruiting new students. Being bilingual, she is especially known for recruiting many new students from the growing Hispanic Adventist community. She preaches at Hispanic churches, speaks to parents one on one, and promotes Christian education on a Sabbath morning radio program sponsored by the Hispanic churches. Because of her efforts, the Hispanic population at JNA has increased to 43 percent.

Although Esposito does much for the school, her favorite part of the school day is when she gathers her students in a circle and worships with them.

“I don’t take teaching just as a job,” Esposito said. “For me, it is a sacred ministry. I have no doubt in my mind that God chose me and called me to be a teacher. I consider it a privilege and an honor to be able to work in an environment in which I can freely share my faith and talk about God’s love with my students.”

Carmen Esposito’s award ceremony was on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Alumni Awards Foundation former Board Member, Keith White,  presented the award to Carmen Esposito. 

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