Community Magazine September 2021

TISHREI 5782 / SEPTEMBER 2021 59 public schools for the first four years and was placed at MDY for the last four. After Tania completed her master’s degree, Omni paid for her bilingual degree, and she became a bilingual SEIT. Work-Family Balance “My years as a SEIT offered me terrific opportunities and flexibility. My daughter was 11 months old when I started. I traveled to several schools and worked 25 hours a week with three- and four-year-olds.” My husband has been my biggest champion emotionally and in every way. He helpedme grow my career, pitching in when the nanny wasn’t available and with emergencies. My mother was also there for me especially in the beginning and was my role model as an educator. For the first five years as a SEIT, I worked 12 consecutive months since the bilingual children get twelve months of mandated services.” Tania was grateful that during her SEIT years, her children never felt that she worked, as she left the house after theywent off to school and returned before they came home. The parents of the kids Tania taught greatly appreciated her contributions to their children’s education and development. Change Can Be Good When the government limited the funding for SEIT programs, Tania knew it was time for a change. A mother of a SEIT colleague advised Tania that her daughter’s principal was looking to hire. Three years ago, a week before September, the principal of P.S. 90 in Coney Island contacted Tania and hired her as a special education teacher. Shortly thereafter, she transferred Tania to a dual language class. The transition was challenging but rewarding. The biggest hurdle was that Tania’s work schedule was not in sync with her children’s yeshiva schedule, especially during the winter break. “My kids appreciate life and are proud of what I’m doing. They help me prepare presents for my students and watch me grade papers. Raymond steps in and takes them to visit their grandparents in Florida over the winter break. It’s important for kids to know they can’t always get everything.” Tania explained that the parents of dual language students apply six months in advance to obtain these limited spots for their children, and they are invested in their children’s progress. “The immigrant parents don’t speak English and are unprivileged, but they care a lot about education and are the best assets. I clarify that we are a team. Our partnership leads to victory. I am very warm and caring but can be strong when needed. I want my students to succeed.” What Lights Tania Up? Her passions are family and teaching. “I am a working mom and my family is my number one priority and my job is number two. I give my children whatever they need, emotionally and financially, that’s what drives me: my energy revolves aroundmy husband and kids. I have a terrific work-life balance, but it took time and effort to create it. I go above and beyond in the classroomand outside of it. My diverse childhood helped me adjust swiftly and in so many ways.” Out of the Mouth of Babes Tania’s young daughter described her mother beautifully in a biography, writing that her mom had moved from country to country and was determined to have a great life. “Tania always focuses on the present, not the past or the future. Growing up, Tania believed in being hard-working, responsible, and generous.” The Pandemic Tania taught via Zoom from her husband’s office in the basement. She proudly read insights from her daughter’s Covid essay about learning to never give up and being flexible. Her daughter described how everyone had their own space in the house to learn on Zoom, but it was online learning that made it  different. Community Tania deeply values her community and feels a strong sense of belonging. “I love our community and with my busy schedule as a working mom, the community helps me feel grounded.” Hobbies and Life Interests After her top passions of family and teaching, Tania’s interests include a love of exercising, spending time in nature, traveling, relaxing at the beach, and cooking. What’s Next Given Tania’s growth mindset and love of learning, she is open to the possibility of returning to school for an advanced degree for an administrator/principal role: “the possibilities are endless.” Tania emphasized the value of creating a good relationship with one’s administrator. Building relationships with her supervisors allows her to attend her children’s special school events – it’s a give and take. Tania’s message to community women is that there are obtainable career opportunities. Tania’s mission is to inspire and motivate them with the lessons she learned about knowing one’s self-worth and balancing family and career. Tania can be reached at Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach.  Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching.   Ellen works part-time as an entitlement specialist at Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services. She can be contacted at ellen@ ( .