One In A Million – Celia Sanabria-Aguilar



One In A Million Feature 

Name: Celia Sanabria-Aguilar

School: Madison Meadows

Grade: 7th/8th Grade

How long have you been a teacher? 13 years

What made you get into the teaching profession?

Ever since I was little I loved playing school. In high school I had a few teachers who inspired me to follow their footsteps and become a teacher.

Who was your most inspirational teacher and why?

Two of the most inspirational educators in my life have been my Spanish Teacher and my soccer coach. My Spanish teacher inspired me to love my culture, my identity and my roots. My soccer coach inspired me to care for everyone and to always strive to be my best.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?
In the three years I’ve been teaching in Arizona, our biggest challenge is class size and lack of resources/funding. There’s a lack of resources to provide services to students who need not only academic but social emotional support. Lack of funding also affects the amount of teachers that are hired therefore the teachers that are in the classroom have 30+ students per class.

How do these issues affect your day to day?
Large classes make it difficult for teachers to address every student’s individual needs. Those students who need extra support, find themselves in classes with classmates who are far ahead. This academic gap brings disruption and distractions to the classroom and interferes with everyone’s learning environment. There’s no placement for students who can benefit from additional academic and or social/emotional support to help them succeed as individuals in this competitive society.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?
The tax deduction helps but it’s a low amount. Teachers often spend more than that on school supplies.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?
I believe workload, student behavior and having to constantly redirect students with no follow-up at home, and keeping up with all the expectations from administration and district officials with little support can be a turning point for many teachers who once loved the profession and the many variables that are out of our control turned them away.

What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?

Every day in the classroom is a new day, what keeps me going are the students who show eagerness to learn. Their energy is contagious and that is what motivates me to keep going.

What are some of the most thoughtful and effective ways parents and the community can show gratitude?
Parent support is everything at least in my opinion. When I feel supported by the parents then there’s this sense of responsibility to doing my job with a community backing me up rather than feeling like I’m working solo.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?

I moved here from Chicago, and one thing I can say is that children are children regardless of location. I wish Arizona’s children had the right resources to see them thrive and be successful regardless of their background, struggles or experiences.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom and who do people contact if they want to help out?

I would love to have cultural games in my classroom that reflect the Latino culture. They can either contact me or the school’s Director of signature programs Casey George.

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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+