The Work We Do: Paola Florez, Peconic Community School

My name is Paola Florez and I am a co-teacher for early childhood. I’m also the Spanish teacher for the entire school, so that would be early childhood through sixth grade, at Peconic Community School. 

There’s no typical day, really. My routine would be, before the children come in, to come into the classroom and set it up.

Throughout the day it’s really a matter of attending and supporting the children’s needs and their journey through discovery.

Once the children are gone, the day for me continues because I’m constantly thinking, “What am I going to do tomorrow? How am I going to connect something that might have happened in the classroom?”

As we’re waiting for everybody to come in, we have a little short play time. Sometimes we have things set up as they come in, like painting. Today we picked flowers from our garden for them to do their interpretation of what those flowers look like.

After we play for a little bit … usually it’s time for morning meeting. We have a schedule that shows what we do. We play, we clean up, we eat snacks. The children, even though they don’t have a concept of time the way we do, they like to have an idea of what’s happening next. I think it provides a way of grounding themselves.

My day to teach Spanish to the other grades is on Friday. I’m here in the morning in early childhood and then in the afternoon I teach all of the grades. Some of them are 45 minutes and others are half an hour. It’s really fun.

I think it’s our responsibility as educators and teachers to instill in our children the ability and the skills that they will need to go out into the community and make the world a better place. It starts this little. When you’re able to appreciate, take care and respect your environment, your surroundings, your community, it doesn’t matter where you go in the world. You can take all those values outside into the world wherever it is that you end up and make it a better place.

‘The Work We Do’ is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. This weekly feature is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview.