Recipient: Yelena Kastelyanets
Number of years teaching: 22
School: Zareinu Educational Centre
Subject: Special Education
Inspiration/Motivation for being a Teacher of Excellence:
Yelena has spent her entire teaching career teaching students with special needs. She sees the needy child as needing more guidance in their life and loves being there to support and encourage. She also sees her teaching role extending to the parents of her students who also need support and guidance in this overwhelming process.
Yelena loves to teach her students skills that the non- disabled population does not need to be taught. She knows that when her students leave school that their life will be difficult so teaching them skills now will help them to survive and be successful in their adult years. She constantly links learning with a practical life skill.
Yelena loves to see progress in her students. She sees their happiness and knows that they enjoy coming to school where they are appreciated and encouraged.
Andrea, Yelena’s team-teaching partner wrote this about her:
Yelena is an amazing teacher. She currently teaches a class with an age range from 9 to 16, a situation that requires a great deal of careful planning and organization. Moreover, since every one of her students has unique needs, most of the programs and textbooks are not suitable. She therefore must create the materials each student requires, often painstakingly by hand. Through her efforts Yelena has helped students reach high levels of academic, social, and life-skill success, levels which often surpass the expectations of parents and experts. Yelena’s commitment to her students is tremendous. She is keenly aware of the complex needs of her students and is able to reach each one of them. Her excitement when a child achieves a new goal or does something for the first time inspires her staff to continue their challenging work. Yelena is an exceptional teacher, one who cares deeply about her students and helps each one to reach his or her fullest potential.