One In A Million: May 2023: Maria Maeda

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One In A Million Feature Questions

Name: Maria Maeda

School: Madrid Neighborhood School

Grade: 4

How long have you been a teacher?
I have been teaching for 20 years.

What made you get into the teaching profession?

One reason I got into the teaching profession is because someone else saw in me the potential of making a difference by being in a classroom setting. I also loved being around children since I was a teenager. I used to babysit my neighbors’ children when I was in 8th grade, in my high school years, I worked in a daycare center after school and now, I am in the classroom teaching children.

Who was your most inspirational teacher and why?

My most inspirational teacher was Ms. Cook. She was my first-grade teacher. I remember that she always smiled and taught with a passion. She always praised the strengths she saw in all her students.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?

I believe the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face now continues to be, teacher salary. This challenge discourages undergraduate students from pursuing education as a profession.

How do these issues affect your day to day?

On a personal note, this issue does not affect me. I truly believe that one must be in love with the profession (in any work force) in order to believe that it can be accomplished with enthusiasm. Although, there might be times that can become challenging, one can overcome those challenges and remain with positive mindset for the ultimate goal, which is, teaching all children with a passion.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?

Any dollar amount provided to compensate for a portion of the amount actually spent is greatly appreciated.

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality?

The expectations of becoming a teacher are different from reality is in thinking that all students grasp the standards taught immediately or that all students learn at the same pace. Teachers must be prepared to handle challenges students face or situations they might be going through at home and is affecting their learning.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?

I think one reason teachers might burn out so quickly is because not everyone is able to handle situations or challenges (whether home, family or work) the same way.

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

What “fills my cup” when running on empty is, quiet time and a cup of Starbucks coffee. I feel, my home is my sanctuary. I am also person of faith and prayer plays a big role in my life.

What are some of the most thoughtful and effective ways parents and the community can show gratitude?

A thoughtful and effective way parents or the community can show gratitude is by surprising teachers with anything they can be creative with. It could be a simple “thank you for all do” for our students. Teachers love surprises and we are kids at heart. We like to be acknowledged for making a difference in the lives of children.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?

A wish for Arizona’s children to have a love for learning so they can succeed and be proficient at every grade level because they are the future leaders of this thriving nation.

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

Additional supplies I would like for my classroom are protractors, calculators, and whisper phones. I learned that Donors Choose is a great place to start.



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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+