Cielo Acosta is a reading teacher at SLAM! Miami in Miami, Florida and a former student. She is also one of the teachers awarded with the 2023 Changemaker award for National Charter Schools Week 2023, May 7-13!
A passionate athlete and student-sports enthusiast, one of Cielo’s favorite things about planning the students’ curriculum is bringing in sports strategies to help learning and align this approach with the state standards. She believes it is essential for educators to impart more than academic lessons and to instill the importance of kindness, compassion, and self-growth—and she does that through sports. An inspirational quote that she uses to inspire her students is, “Be something you love and understand.”
The National Alliance connected with Cielo for a Q&A about her experience as a teacher and in a charter school:
How has working at a charter school shaped your career as an educator?
By having a profession at a charter school my career as an educator has been shaped through the endless opportunities to excel in my capacity as an educator. These opportunities include but are not limited to the unconditional support, resources, and incentives given by our administrative team that creates a premise for not only effective instruction but creating an atmosphere where educators can pursue their passion without limitations in and outside of the classroom.
Tell us one of your favorite anecdotes from being a teacher that showcases why you do this work.
In my first year of teaching a student wrote me a handmade letter that ended with the following words “No matter what I love you and can’t wait for what your lessons have taught me and inspired me to continue in life.” That sentence was enough to provide me with such a heartwarming experience that proved that there is a possibility that a student of mine will later in life say, “Once there was this teacher…”
What do you love about being a teacher?
I believe children can be anything they are nurtured to be. Being a teacher provides a platform for an adult to be an advocate who is loving, understanding, and empathetic. The characteristics that can resonate with children eternally in such a way that their entire life could be impacted by this one person whom they have met along the way.
What made you decide to be a teacher?
I am currently a teacher at a school called Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM). Coincidentally, this is the school from which I graduated in May 2016. During my time as a student, the administrators and faculty members provided me with such love, guidance, and hope in everything that I one day could be. This always inspired the following thoughts: “Where would I have been without the correct guidance? How can I be that for the children of our next generation?”
What makes you most excited about the future of public education or what opportunities do you see?
What makes me the most excited about the future of public education is the inclusivity that schools are providing to accommodate each child in the building while still preparing them for the future. Whether this accommodation requires forms to bridge the achievement gap or diversifying instructional implementation based on the student’s background or needs while integrating innovative technology, that will change the future to be.
Meet more teacher 2023 Changemakers and join the National Charter Schools Week celebration!