Rebecca Escobedo is a former student at Seminole ISD who has been teaching first grade at BigSpring for the past four years. Her efforts are not only to teach kids the fundamentals of education, but to go deeper and teach them to want to learn. It is one thing to teach a child how to read, but quite another thing to cause this child to love to read. This is Rebecca's ultimate goal.
She likes to hear from the parents of her students, and recently received the following message from the mother of one of her first graders whose name is also Rebecca. It is the kind of message any teacher would love to get. It reads:
"Rebecca, (the first grade student), is sitting here reading out of a magazine to me. What a difference you have made in her!! Thank you. She hated to read and was so behind in reading. Now she loves it and reads so amazingly well. What a blessing you are."
The Escobedo family moved to Seminole from Levelland when Rebecca was an infant, and she went through all of her school years in Seminole, graduating in 2002.
Her parents are Reno and Sylvia Escobedo. Reno works for Centurion Pipeline Company and Sylvia is a stay-at-home mom and grandma. Rebecca has two sisters, Laura lives in Temple, and Cathrin lives in San Angelo, and she has a nine-months-old niece, Georgia, whom she adores and hopes to get to help teach to read.
While in high school Rebecca was involved in Journalism and was on the Yearbook staff. She was on the staff of the "War Whoop," and was editor her senior year.
After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Texas Permian Basin, UTPB, in Odessa. She changed her major several times between Journalism and education, but while she was in college she sub taught at Seminole and decided she really wanted to be a teacher.
She says she thinks Seminole has a lot of good teachers which she tries to model her teaching after.
Marilyn Williams was one teacher who influenced Rebecca. She remembered how Mrs. Williams would sit on the floor, putting herself down on the kid's level to teach, and how she always found something to praise about every child.
Rebecca received her bachelors degree in Child and Family Studies. She got a job in Big Spring, teaching first grade. She has an average of 22 students and teaches all the subjects which includes reading.
She believes if a child doesn't know how to read they won't be successful in other fields, so she feels it is important to teach them to read.
As Albert Einstein once wrote, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, It will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
In order to help her students, her "Babies," enjoy reading Miss Escobedo has them do research on books. She tries to get them to use books, so they know books are an option, and not just Google all the time.
She believes some computer games and shows are beneficial, but kids come to rely on the information they receive, and reading broadens their background and experience through a good book.
She used the illustration of a Polar Bear. Most of the students will never walk out in their yard and see a Polar Bear, but by reading about one they will know something about them and broaden their experience."
As a teacher she tries to put herself in the place of the student and reach them at their level through their interests. If they are reading about a dog, for instance, she tells them about her dog, and asks them about their dogs. After talking about dogs she shows them the word, "bark," and they catch on right away. They are learning to read.
She also utilizes dancing. She says children of this age group like to move. They can't sit still long. By dancing they have fun and don't realize they are learning. This is called Kinesthetic Learning.
They work out with phonics, they act out what they read. She calls this dramatic learning.
She encourages her kids to, "read a little or read a lot." She says they don't have to read a whole book at a time, and even reading street signs while going down the road is still reading.
Rebecca also teaches English as a Second Language, ESL. She says English is the hardest language to learn, but if you can get the kids to relate to things which are familiar to them it becomes easier.
She is continuing her own education working on her masters degree, so she tells the kids she is a student like they are, to encourage them.
She is looking forward to this coming year when she will be teaching Pre-K students. This will involve teaching them the basics of reading; the letter sounds and what the letters look like and reading from left to right. It will involve a lot of modeling; how to hold a book and how to take care of a book and so forth.
Rebecca also had a lesson for the parents and grandparents of school kids. She said, "Kids who are loved at home come to school to learn; kids who are not, come to school to be loved."
Rebecca Escobedo said, "I love my job. I could not think of doing anything else."