Karen Esposito: Teacher, Mentor
This Mill Basin Early Childhood Center veteran and “life-long learner” eagerly shares what she’s learned over 18 years of Special Education knowledge with her colleagues.
Karen Esposito has taught at Birch Family Service’s Mill Basin Early Childhood Center for nearly seventeen years. So it’s no surprise that she has been chosen as the school’s 2019 Teacher Mentor. Come to think of it, Karen, a dedicated and generous colleague who is always willing and able to pass on her years of knowledge in the ever-changing field of Early Childhood Special Education, has been informally mentoring staff her entire career.
“Melding and sharing my experiences and the professional development supports I’ve received from others has helped to strengthen my teaching practices,” says Karen, who subscribes to educational sites, enters contests, and visits neighborhood businesses for reading materials, art supplies, and dramatic play props to be used in classroom activities. “As a teacher and teacher mentor, I embrace the everyday challenges. As a professional, I share, learn and grow with the students in my charge, their parents, and my fantastic team of Birch co-workers.”
“I recognize the importance of my role as a teacher and mentor in accepting and implementing change. Self-reflection has been a key point in my career. I had to learn early on to honestly evaluate my work to ensure that I am current and effective in my approach and I have to be willing to make positive changes to support my students in the way they need me.” – Karen Esposito
Located in the heart of the Mill Basin section of southeastern Brooklyn, Mill Basin Early Childhood Center provides Special Education classrooms for preschool-age children. These include structured learning classrooms for children with autism and global developmental delays. A highly skilled educator and a self-professed “life-long learner,” Karen has a keen understanding of the complexities of how her students learn and is adept at helping other teachers improve their own pedagogy. As such, she has a hand in creating all the school-wide special events in alignment with the Common Core curriculum as well as the functional abilities of the students. In addition to her teaching and mentoring responsibilities, she also serves on Mill Basin’s School Readiness Goal Committee each year.
“I recognize the importance of my role as a teacher and mentor in accepting and implementing change,” says Karen. “Self-reflection has been a key point in my career. I had to learn early on to honestly evaluate my work to ensure that I am current and effective in my approach and I have to be willing to make positive changes to support my students in the way they need me.”
Esposito’s colleagues aren’t the only ones to notice her excellent work. This year, a parent of a former student nominated her for the New York City Department of Education’s Big Apple Teachers Award, which celebrate educators across the City and honor those teachers who inspire students, model great teaching, and enrich their school.”
“In and out of the classroom, changes that occur in our world affect who we are — teachers and students — and where we are going. However, my love for teaching has never changed. Being prepared, creative and flexible are my strengths and as I observe my students, I am willing to “go with the flow.” At a moment’s notice, I have to be ready for the discovery of their newfound knowledge and be there to help expand their exploration, curiosity, interests, and sense of wonder. Those aha moments are my driving force.”
Birch Family Services offers an array of pre-school education programs for children ages 3–5 years in unique environments appropriate for their individualized needs. Located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, our early childhood programs provide educational and therapeutic interventions to young children which are designed to develop their skills and abilities. Parents and families are supported through workshops on various topics to assist them in understanding their child’s needs, the educational program designed for their child, and the education system for those with developmental needs.