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Miss Pearl: MCS Teacher of the Year

KINDERGARTEN teacher Zhezhu “Pearl” Jin is Mount Carmel School’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

She received the award during the school’s annual faculty and staff-appreciation ceremony held on Monday. Priscilla T. Dela Cruz was named 2018 Staff of the Year.

Jin, who started her career as a teacher just two years ago, said she is still learning and wants to improve and become a better teacher.

“I know there are still many things that I have to learn so I want to thank everybody for helping me and for trusting me,” she said in an interview. “I also know there are a lot of things I need to improve on, so I can be a better teacher — I will work harder.”

Jin, who is known to her students and their parents as Miss Pearl, graduated from Northern Marianas College with a degree in early childhood elementary education.

While an NMC student, she was a student teacher at MCS. After graduating from NMC in 2015, she worked at Brilliant Star School as an assistant teacher for two months. In 2016, she started working at MCS.

“Children have different backgrounds and different characteristics,” she said. “It is hard to understand each of them, especially the younger kids. It is more important to connect with them and talk to them heart-to- heart so it is easier to encourage them to do their school work. During my first year of teaching at MCS, I tried hard to get close to the students and get their attention. It was hard sometimes, but everything went well.”

She said she encountered many challenges, but it was also rewarding when she saw her students improving every day. “I’m really happy whenever I see them learning.”

Luisa Marie Camacho, Jin’s assistant in the K5 classroom, said Miss Pearl is very helpful to her students.

“I have been with her since last year and I have seen how motivated she is, and how helpful she is with the kids. She makes sure that all the kids learn. I believe she deserves the award,” Camacho said.

“She is a very effective and efficient teacher,” Camacho added. “When kids came here at the start of the school year, many did not know how to hold a pencil. They did not know their ABCs, but now all of them know the alphabet and the sounds of each letter and how to write. They also know their numbers. They’ve learned all that within the first two months of the school year.”

In selecting this year’s Teacher of the Year, MCS president Galvin Deleon Guerrero said a candidate had to be a full-time teacher at the school for at least two years.

“In order to be the Teacher of the Year, you also need to demonstrate mastery of instructional methodology. You have to demonstrate that you are fulfilling the school’s mission and vision. You have to be involved in more than just teaching or doing extra-curricular activities,” Deleon Guerrero said.

He added that they have a set of scoring rubrics to evaluate the nominees. “It covers a wide-range based on methodology, student engagement, classroom management — the usual things that we expect from a good teacher.”

Deleon Guerrero said Jin is their first kindergarten Teacher of the Year. “This is also our second year offering a kindergarten program after we merged with Sister Remedios Early Childhood Development Center,” he said.

“Kindergarten education is valuable and important. All the research shows that a solid kindergarten education ensures success. So it is important that we recognize kindergarten teachers because they make important contributions to the lives of students.”

Deleon Guerrero noted that Miss Pearl also represents diversity. “For someone who is from Korea and China who came here on a student visa and is now teaching full time at Mt. Carmel School, her achievements are a great inspiration for everyone in our community and in our school which has a wide diversity of students.”

Jin’s parents are Korean and Chinese. She lived in China before coming to Saipan in 2004.

“She is very dedicated, a hard worker and she gets along well with her colleagues,” Deleon Guerrero added.

MCS, he said, appreciates all its teachers. “They work so hard. So aside from raising their salaries, recognizing them is just a part of our effort to show appreciation.”

He added, “It is important to recognize excellence in anything, whether it is sports, student competition or teaching. When you recognize excellence in a field, you are also promoting excellence so others can be inspired to strive to be better.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101936-miss-pearl-mcs-teacher-of-the-year

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