A Long Beach Unified School District teacher was honored recently as a Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year and is eligible to advance to the statewide competition.
Deborah Bober teaches third grade at Cubberley K-8 School. She will be honored at a Board of Education meeting in the coming weeks.
She is a nationally recognized teacher who continually improves her craft and finds ways to help colleagues do the same.
“I listen to myself teach,” she wrote in her application. “I catch myself verbalizing the attitudes I find most productive, verbally recounting and reminding each child what learning looks like and sounds like. Through positive reinforcement and knowing what motivates each child, I captivate their attention. I engage. Then, I teach.”
Long before state content standards were developed, she was involved in the creation of the original LBUSD Content Standards. She would later go on to be a key member of the Common Core Development and Demonstration Team.
“Limited training on the emotional and cognitive differences among students and extensive concentration on pacing and curriculum direct the focus of teachers onto WHAT rather than WHO,” she wrote. “The key to education is seeing learning through the eyes of the students.”
She earned a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA and has found time to work as an undergraduate and graduate adjunct professor at Cal State (Long Beach and Dominguez Hills). As an educational consultant, she has also worked with various school districts to provide professional development for teachers and administrators, contributing to her profession well beyond Long Beach.
“When I taught math methods at CSULB, I didn’t teach math,” she wrote. “I would pose a mathematical test with, ‘Show me your thinking.’ My hope was to improve the profession by showing preservice teachers that teaching math is not about teaching math, it’s about teaching STUDENTS how to do math.”
She serves on Cubberley’s Instructional Leadership Team and Professional Development Committee, the latest example of her many years of dedicated service on various committees at the school and district levels, as well as within the Teachers Association of Long Beach.
“The basis for accountability in the teaching profession should begin and end with student achievement,” she wrote. “From the first day of school to the last day in June, a teacher’s impact can be weighed by the progress of each student. Although test scores are the easiest form of global measurement, I would assess student attitude toward learning and students’ feelings about their teachers, the nonacademic factors of social emotional learning.”
Imagining herself as a possible state or national representative of her profession, she knows what she would do.
“I would advocate for understanding the individual strengths and weaknesses of each student, including their emotional, social and developmental needs versus merely academic levels of success,” she wrote. “Reach every child by knowing them personally. Teach kindness. Teach respect. Model the characteristics of perseverence and diligence by holding each child accountable for progress. Learn about the kids so every step you take as a teacher is in one direction — forward.”