Meet a Top 100 Teacher: Lydia Degollado at Pleasant Grove Elementary

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Lydia Degollado is a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at Pleasant Grove Elementary School who specializes in science and writing.

Degollado has 13 years of classroom experience and is dedicated to continuing her development as an educator in order to better serve her students. Degollado says the love and support she has received from her own parent, colleagues, mentors and teachers has continued to fuel her drive in the profession.

What motivates/inspires you?

My main motivation are my students. I love to watch their eyes light up when they have an idea, or when they finally understand a concept they have been struggling with. Teaching is so much fun because each day is like any other! Also, I believe teaching is one of the most rewarding professions because I am able to make a difference in the world by shaping the future.

How do you motivate and inspire your students?

I was the first in my family to get a degree. I was able to achieve that because my parents and teachers never stopped believing in me. It was a lot of work and I had to keep my grades up to maintain my scholarship. I tell my students they can also achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they are. They have me to support them along all the way! Not only can they count on me during this school year, but whenever they need it.

Tell us about your most memorable teaching moment?

I have taught fourth-grade writing and science for the last three years. This year, a fifth grader came to me with a chapter book he wrote. He wanted me to read it, and give him feedback. I cried when I read it (even though it was a comic book) because he had listened to what I taught him, and used it.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?

I am an avid reader. I have an app in my phone that will let me read wherever I go! I try to read different types of books, but lately I am interested in brain development. I also read a lot of children’s books because I have two boys (ages 7 and 4). This helps me very much because I have found some very interesting books to use in my read alouds.

What do you do differently now than you did when you first started teaching?

I had the pleasure to have wonderful colleagues and amazing mentors. Of all the things I have learned, I would say the most important is not being afraid of trying a new strategy or a new approach. You never know until you have experienced it yourself. I always have my ears open for advice from other teachers. I also like to observe my coworkers because there are so many successful ideas being implemented already, and I don’t want to miss them.

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