Teacher Appreciation: Sandra Hughes, Toddler Teacher

It’s never too late to appreciate some of our teachers, so we’re extending Teacher Appreciation Week a bit. Today we’re featuring Toddler teacher Sandra Hughes from the Treasure Coast Early Learning Academy CCLC in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Center Director Jackie Dunn told us about this outstanding teacher: Sandra Hughes is going on seven years as a toddler teacher at Treasure Coast. In almost seven years Sandra has never been late for school. In fact, she is early every day. She schedules her time off in advance and has never called out — in seven years! Sandra is always open to feedback. She is pleasant, courteous and even-tempered.

Sandra with one of her students.

Sandra with one of her students.

Sandra signed up with the TEACH program and earned her CDA. She was apprehensive at first, thinking she was “too old” to go back to school. Sandra enrolled in the program with two other employees and was the first to finish.

Sandra gets along with everyone. Her families love her. One of her parents said that although she is looking forward to the reduction in tuition when her child turns two, she wishes that Sandra would move up and become the 2-year-old teacher.

Sandra takes everything in stride. We had a difficult teacher who no one wanted to work with. Sandra said, “I will work with her.” She trained her to become a good assistant. When asked how she accomplished that particular feat Sandra responded, “I just told her that this is a very busy room and when I move, you move. I model what needs to be done and make sure that she understands what is expected of her.”

Sandra is an exemplary employee. I wish I could clone her.

While this glowing description certainly gives us a good idea of the kind of teacher Sandra is, we wanted to know a little bit more about her, so we asked her a few questions.

Name: Sandra Hughes

Years teaching, years at CCLC: Seven years

Classroom: Toddlers

I knew I wanted to be a teacher when…“I started teaching part time to get out of the house. I had so much fun I knew this was my calling.”

Funny teaching moment: “It was nap time and I had a little boy who did not want to sleep. I tried rubbing his back, playing soft music and nothing worked. Finally, I started singing. He looked at me and said, ‘Not nice, no sing!’”

The strangest things my students have said to me: Same as above

I keep my calm and/or sense of humor by…“I stop, take a deep breath and do something fun like singing or dancing.”

My students taught me…To really listen

You know it’s a good day when…“When I see my students connect with the lesson. We were working on colors for a while and London said, ‘yellow.’ At first I thought it was wishful thinking on my part, so I started to bring out different yellow items and she pointed and repeated ‘yellow.’”

Describe a Meaningful Moment: “I bumped my head on the shelf one day. It really hurt so I put my hand over the spot, said ‘ow’ and sat down. Isabella came up to me, patted the spot and said, ‘I love you.’ That made my day. My toddler was showing empathy!”

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