Professor Miriam Velez of the School of Education has been working at Nyack College since 2000, when she began as the Director for Academic Development. She has also served as the Student Teacher Coordinator for the Manhattan Undergraduate Program for the last sixteen years and has been the director for Masters in Inclusive and Bilingual Education for the last three years. Here, in this series of stories about the 50th Anniversary of the School, she discusses the most important part of her work as an educator of educators.
To Professor Velez, the SALT model at the School of Education is not just a framework, but it is her “philosophy of life” and guide to teaching. With regards to the model, Professor Velez said this:
Service: I strive to be a servant model for the students by having an open door policy to my office and my home.
Academics is the pursuit of truth and knowledge. In the School of Education, knowledge and truth begin with the fear of the Lord. I teach the Christian Teacher course, and I often remind the students that God is not pleased with mediocre teachers. We must strive to be effective teachers, growing professionally and spiritually.
Leadership: Luke 6:40 states, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” This is a sobering thought, to think they [teachers] will impact the lives of their students not just by their teaching, but by what they model for them.
Teaching requires a commitment to excellence, always striving to become the Christian educator that will open his classroom doors, as well as his heart, to all children, especially [to] disadvantaged students.
Throughout her time at the School of Education, Professor Velez has been most proud of one thing: the people. She said that she is proud of the current students and alumni because they “become kingdom agents, teachers with a godly vision for all the children they serve. Regardless of where they serve . . . they [bring] God’s love and grace to all children.”
To all of the future educators out there, Professor Velez gave this advice:
Teach each day showing and reflecting God’s love in everything [you] do and say. Be thankful for the students God gives [you]. Always teach with excellence and from the heart as [you] provide a Kingdom class education to all students. Recognize that God holds his people to a higher standard to improve us so that the children will benefit from inspired and highly effective teaching.
Lastly, when asked what advice she would have been given as a new teacher, Professor Velez said this:
The goal of Christian teaching is always Christ likeness, regardless of the setting. . . It is important to focus on the children, not the institution.