Gelane Cameron- Pacific Elementary Teacher of the Year
Gelane Cameron is a teacher whom children never forget. She leaves an imprint on their lives, and forever changes their life direction and thoughts about learning. This is evident when her former students flock back to visit her from college, high school, middle school, and second grade, and from the many events she is asked to attend, represent, or speak at on behalf of former students. Gelane is a gift to the field of education, and Manhattan Beach is lucky to have her as one of our teachers.
There is an energy when you enter Gelane's classroom and a buzz around learning that makes it hard to leave. Whether children are doing a leaf walk examining similarities and differences, or sharing opinions about a character’s motivation in a story, each child under Gelane's care glows with a love of learning that is easy to see. Students can't wait to share what they are doing or what they have learned, and it is always at a level of understanding that most adults would be surprised is possible for a seven year old. Every child in her room feels special, gifted, and challenged.
Gelane is an educator whose dedication to her students' learning often causes others to shake their heads in disbelief. How many people do you know who will wake up for days in a row at 2:00 a.m. to watch over delicate duck eggs in the middle of the night, then return to school with a smile and excitement about the process? I only know of 5 - Gelane and her teammates. This is all so students can have the unique experience of watching the ducks hatch and feeling an ownership of the life cycle and the delicacy of life that otherwise they would not experience. Whether dressing up as Mrs. Spider to host a tea party, or transforming herself into a sheriff from the old west, Gelane goes to great lengths to bring authentic experiences into the lives of her students and make learning real.
Aside from her creativity and passion, Gelane is a teacher who constantly seeks to learn and hone her craft. She understands both the science and art of teaching, and seeks to develop both. Gelane has embraced Writer's Workshop and develops authors in first grade who take pride in their writing. She saw in Writer's Workshop a toolkit that would bring a sophistication and depth of knowledge to student writing and went beyond school and district training to enhance her skills in this area. She has also forged new territory in math at Pacific by integrating Cognitively Guided Instruction principles, seeking to enrich student learning in math that goes beyond procedures into true conceptual understanding. Gelane is an active member on the district math committee as we all delve into changes in our expectations and pedagogy in math. She is always looking for new ways to light the love of learning in her students, and brings that knowledge to her peers and administration so all can benefit from the learning she embraces.
Pacific is lucky to have to have such a talented and compassionate teacher as their representative for Teacher of the Year. Gelane Cameron is the embodiment of what the Pacific community stands for in education, and they love her!