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For our second interview, we spoke with Building Blocks Award Winner, Yolanda Cornejo.

What’s your title and school location?

Instructional Aide-Special Education, Sherwood Elementary

How many years of teaching/experience?

22 years

What brought you to Salinas City Elementary School District?

I was in the search for a better job and I wanted to be with my kids more often. I saw that Salinas City Elementary School District was hiring, and I took the chance and applied. I’ve never looked back since then.

What keeps you motivated and inspired on a daily basis?

What keeps me motivated and inspired is experiencing the pleasure of seeing how each day children surpass their goals. Another thing, is seeing my student’s desire when learning something new.

What does your award mean to you?

Last year was very challenging for me. I had six students with behavior problems and it was really stressful for me. At the end of the tough days, I would say to myself “tomorrow will be a better day”. This award means that all the effort and time I invested into my students, carrying out and teaching the lessons every day, was all worth it.

What is the most gratifying thing about your job?

The most gratifying thing about my job is knowing that I am helping students and giving them different strategies and the right tools so they can have better understanding of school subjects. Also offering support so they can have more confidence in themselves in and out of the classroom.  

Any advice for new educators?

You must have a lot of patience, give your best, treat children with care and a lot of respect.