Sharon Aguiar teaches by empowering
SUMMIT COUNTY – All teachers hope they can inspire their students. Colorado Mountain College Summit Campus’ 2004-2005 Faculty Member of the Year Sharon Aguiar knows she changes the lives of all her students by empowering them.Aguiar, an assistant professor of English as a Second Language in Breckenridge and Dillon, was chosen by her coworkers for the award.”All of our faculty and adjunct deserve this award,” said a very modest Aguiar, who feels that all of CMC’s teachers work very hard. But then she says, it’s not just the teachers.
The students work very hard, she said. “They’re extremely dedicated. They see a clear purpose for their learning,” Aguiar said. “I see ESL classes as one of the direct ways to empower students in their lives and to be able to participate more fully in their communities.”I have students who have four classes at both ends of the county. And I have some students who attend all of those classes and are taking the bus and often are bringing kids with them.”One of her students, Wilbert Martinez, moved to the United States from El Salvador. He only knew a few words of English when he took his first class from Sharon. Now, already fluent in speaking English, he’s taking Sharon’s class for the second time to improve his writing skills.
“Learning English with Sharon has really made my life easier here in America,” said Martinez, who has been promoted from a houseman to a maintenance worker now that he can read the work orders. “Sharon has the ability to help people see past their current situation and dream of the potential they have within themselves,” said fellow teacher Laura Pless. “She fosters this dream in her classes and in a way that encourages students to pursue bigger goals.”Aguiar has decided that “just teaching” ESL isn’t enough. She has to also make her classes family friendly to make them more accessible to students. She does that through her ESL Family Literacy classes that include parents and their children.
“In the daytime, the kids are in a different room until the last half hour of class. Then we do things together,” Aguiar said. In the daytime, she has infants through preschool. At night, there are infants through any age where parents wouldn’t leave their children at home alone. In night classes, she brings in videos or coloring books so the kids have something to do while the parents are studying. “We are partnering with The Family and Intercultural Resource Center and Early Childhood Options. They fund the position of the children’s program coordinator,” Aguiar said.
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