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Meet Tina Gonzalez: 2024 AG Bell AVEd Scholar

Congratulations to Tina Gonzalez, the 2024 AG Bell AVEd Scholar.

AG Bell is pleased to award Tina Gonzalez, M.Ed., the 2024 AG Bell AVEd Scholarship. She is a classroom teacher in a Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) program for pre-K students ages 3-5 at Quest Elementary in Melbourne, FL.

This professional scholarship was established by AG Bell through the generous support of legacy donors to support the certification of educators through the AG Bell Academy. Its purpose is to assist professionals in fulfilling the requirements for certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Auditory-Verbal Educator (LSLS Cert. AVEd®).

Volta Voices talked with Tina to find out more.

Tell us about your background and how you ended up in this field.

I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. My senior year in high school, I saw a documentary about deaf education. I then did my senior English research paper on deaf education and knew that was what I wanted to do. I went to Flagler College, where I studied deaf education and elementary education. I have now been teaching for 30 years, all in deaf education from pre-k to high school and with all modes of communication.

What motivated you to seek this certification?

I consider myself a lifelong learner and want to be the best teacher I can be for my students. When I took my current position, my district asked me to go to The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC for training. Even though I had already been teaching for 20 years, I realized how much there was still to learn. Soon after that, I found Hearing First and dove into the learning experiences they offered. When I saw they offered a coaching and mentoring cohort, I applied and was accepted. I have learned so much from my mentor as well as my peers in the cohort. I don’t think the learning will ever stop. Going through the LSLS certification process has made me a better classroom teacher and has significantly improved how I support my families.

How will the scholarship help you in the certification process? Where are you in the process?

Receiving this scholarship will help me pay for the rest of my mentoring sessions and the cost of the exam. I am in my fourth year and I have six sessions to complete. I will be taking the certification exam later this year.

What do you see as the future for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and using LSL?

Outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing children today look so different than when I started teaching. Children are identified earlier and can start receiving intervention earlier. Technology improvements in hearing aids and cochlear implants allow deaf children to access spoken language. Because of earlier and better access, children with hearing loss have the potential to be on par with hearing peers, allowing them to reach any and all of their goals.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! I am very honored to be a recipient of this scholarship.

Conozca a Tina Gonzalez: becaria en 2024 de la AG Bell AVEd

AG Bell se complace en premiar a Tina Gonzalez, M.Ed., como la beneficiaria en 2024 de la beca AG Bell AVEd Scholarship. Tina es maestra en un programa de escucha y lenguaje hablado para alumnos de preescolar de 3-5 años en Quest Elementary en Melbourne, Florida.

Esta beca profesional fue establecida por AG Bell a través de la generosa aportación de donantes en apoyo a la certificación de educadores a través de la AG Bell Academy. Su objetivo es ayudar a los profesionales a que cumplan los requisitos para obtener la certificación como Educador auditivo-verbal especialista en Escucha y Lenguaje Hablado (LSLS Cert. AVEd®).

Volta Voices conversó con Tina para conocer mejor su trayectoria.

Háblenos de su formación y de cómo acabó en este campo.

Siempre supe que quería ser maestra. Cuando cursaba el último año de educación secundaria vi un documental sobre la educación de personas con sordera. A continuación, realicé un trabajo de investigación sobre la educación de personas con sordera y me di cuenta de que era lo que deseaba estudiar. Me inscribí en el Flagler College, donde estudié educación para personas con sordera y educación primaria. Actualmente, mi experiencia docente es de 30 años, todos ellos en educación para personas con sordera, desde preescolar hasta secundaria y con todos los modos de comunicación.

¿Cuál es su motivación para obtener esta certificación?

Me considero una persona que aprende durante toda la vida y deseo convertirme en la mejor maestra posible para mis alumnos. Cuando acepté mi puesto actual, el distrito me pidió que acudiera a The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center del UNC para recibir formación. Aunque ya llevaba 20 años enseñando, me di cuenta de lo mucho que me quedaba por aprender. Al poco tiempo, conocí Hearing First y me sumergí en las experiencias de aprendizaje que ofrecían. Cuando ofrecieron una cohorte de coaching y mentoría, me inscribí y me aceptaron. He aprendido mucho de mi mentor, así como de mis compañeros en la cohorte. No creo que el aprendizaje se detenga nunca. El paso por el proceso de certificación LSLS me ha convertido en una mejor maestra y ha mejorado significativamente la forma en que presto ayuda a las familias que atiendo.

¿Cómo le ayudará la beca en el proceso de certificación? ¿En qué punto se encuentra del proceso?

Con esta beca podré pagar el resto de las sesiones de mentoría y el costo del examen. Me encuentro en el cuarto año y me faltan por completar seis sesiones. Me presentaré al examen de certificación este mismo año.

¿Como considera el futuro de los niños con sordera e hipoacusia que emplean el LSL?

Hoy en día, los resultados de los niños con sordera e hipoacusia son muy diferentes de los resultados que se esperaban cuando empecé mi labor docente. Los niños se identifican antes y pueden empezar a recibir intervención en una fase temprana. Las mejoras tecnológicas en audífonos e implantes cocleares permiten que los niños con sordera accedan al lenguaje hablado. Gracias a un acceso más temprano y mejor, los niños con pérdida auditiva tienen el potencial de alcanzar el mismo nivel que sus compañeros con audición normal, lo que les permite lograr todos y cada uno de sus objetivos.

¡Muchas gracias por esta oportunidad! Es un gran honor para mí recibir esta beca.

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