We at the EAW know that hard work, dedication, and passion should be honored – so we are introducing the Member Spotlight series to shine a light on one member every month who does exceptional work. Any EAW member is eligible – if you know someone, fill out our form!
For September 2015, as we head back to school, we are shining a spotlight on Debralee Seles for her wonderful work! Deb has been a teacher in Worcester for over 15 years. She started teaching at Chandler Community school, then moved to Lincoln Street, and is currently a 4th grade teacher at Goddard Elementary. She lives with her husband and has three children.
The colleague who recommended Deb said: “She is the most dedicated person I have ever met. She is an exceptional teacher that goes beyond what is expected to make sure her students have everything they need to succeed. She also creates a trusting atmosphere for parents to come and talk about their child’s educational goals. She is what a true Educator is.”
An Interview with Mrs. Seles
How’d It All Start?
“I graduated from College just as Proposition 2 1/2 was ushered in. Jobs were scarce. I was living in the Boston area when I got hired to work in Central Massachusetts. I got hired on a Friday and had to report for my first day the following Tuesday. I moved with my cat and an ironing board. My first job was sixth grade in Brookfield, where I taught until I left to raise a family. When my youngest child entered kindergarten, I found a teaching position in Worcester, where I have been ever since.
What keeps you teaching?
“Goddard feels like a natural fit. I’ve been here a long time – I love this school. I don’t want to leave this place, or this neighborhood. People told me when I started that working in an inner city school would be a challenge, and they were right. This job is hard. But being part of the neighborhood, working with these people and these students, it’s all worth it.”
What’s your biggest challenge?
“I want to get everyone to grow. I wish I could reach every kid. I try to reach every child, but some are harder than others. Sometimes you reach kids emotionally, but not academically. Sometimes the opposite. I wish that I had more time with every child – more time to teach and talk, instead of having to work towards all our standardized tests.”
What’s your biggest joy?
“It’s hard to pinpoint one little thing. There are moments when you look at someone and say ‘Wow, you’ve come a long way.’ Moments when you can see what they’ve accomplished. I think my favorite is when someone asks a question, and I know they’re engaged. They get it. They want to learn. That’s so valuable, you can’t put a price on it. That’s the moment that gives me the most happiness. ”
How do you feel about the start of the school year?
“I’m so excited about this year – I’m thrilled to have new students, to pass on what I know, and to share the art of teaching.”
“One of my favorite quotes is from John Donne, “No man is an island…” That is certainly true for me. I would not be where I am as a teacher without the collaboration with all my colleagues at Goddard and in the WPS system. Thank you all.”