OSSINING, N.Y. – She may be new to the Ossining School District, but new Brookside Elementary School teacher Diane Pacheco is bringing more than 20 years of experience with her.
Pacheco is one of a dozen new teachers in Ossining this year who have spent many hours in the last month preparing their classrooms for the start of the new school year this week. The teachers took classes of their own in late-August to study the curriculum of the Ossining School District. Pacheco has been an elementary school teacher in Manhattan, Greenburgh and most recently Peekskill. But she’s hoping great years are ahead of her in Ossining.
“I love the fact that there is an excellent dual-language program here,” Pacheco said. “I really wanted to come here because I love that concept, I love the program at this district and I love the way the children learn here.”
Along with her years of experience, Pacheco says a lot has to go into preparing a classroom to turn it into the perfect environment for learning. And there’s a world of difference between her first-year teaching and this one.
“The first year I was teaching it took me weeks and I was there when the school opened and I stayed until they told me to go home,” she said. “During the year it becomes like housekeeping and I consider it my second home during the school year. It's my new home and I want them to consider it their second home, too.”
This year it took her four days to prepare her classroom. And Pacheco says that when classes start this week, it won’t just be the children who are learning something.
“I’ve always liked children learning in groups and I’ve always felt cooperative learning helps them and me,” she said. “It promotes that idea that if I don’t know it, and you might, then we can learn it together and then I can teach you something new.”
She has seen teachers grow complacent and lack energy after doing the same thing for years, so Pacheco says she is always looking to keep her room fresh.
“It gets really stale really quickly if you keep doing the same thing,” she said. “There’s always something you can learn every year about what works and what doesn’t and it’s always a great idea to keep trying new things to keep that growth going.”