Roseanne Esposito: Teaching special education as an opportunity to touch the future

| 29 Apr 2021 | 01:04
    In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7, we asked local students to write us about their favorite teachers. You’ll find some of those letters in the print edition of the paper this week. We then then went out and interviewed those rock star educators. Here’s our teacher spotlight on Roseanne Esposito.

    By Abby Wolf

    What motivates you?

    After thirty years of teaching, I am still learning and looking for new ways to reach my students. It has been an honor to work with so many groups of diverse learners. ...Being a teacher is an opportunity to touch the future. I’m convinced that each and every child has a gift; my purpose is not just to help them find that gift, but to show them how to use it to make a difference in the world.

    Tell us about the past year.

    The past year has made it all the more important to build relationships with students and make mental health a priority.... I have found that it is not so much what we teach but how we teach.

    Each morning, my students and I take time to acknowledge and express how we feel. By integrating mindfulness in my classroom, we use breathing techniques, guided imagery, and movement to create a safe space where they can be comfortable and are ready to learn. Parents can be assured, I will never give up on their child.

    What’s the secret to being a great teacher?

    By providing a space for authentic and engaging lessons, I strive to find every child’s strength and meet them where they are while acknowledging and celebrating their individualism and uniqueness. I do this work to ensure every child leaves knowing they are valuable, in my classroom, and in life.

    Tell us about one of the best days on the job.

    One day one of my students had a realization: “I’m just a kid, but I can make a difference.” I’ve had many students realize at some point that they can harness the power to change something in their community, in the world. This is what inspires and motivates me to keep going.

    How do you spend your time when you’re not teaching?

    It is important for me to reserve my energy so I can be my best self when I show up for my students. I actively work with members of my community to amplify the voices of those who are not heard, which is an important value I try to teach my students—that not only do their voices matter, but that their voices can be a powerful tool to uplift others as well.