Teacher Feature: Gretchen Almeida
Teach·er [tee-cher] imparts information, works overtime, loves children, Makes a Difference
Gretchen Almeida is an 8th grade English Language Arts teacher at Forestbrook Middle School.
How long: This will my 18th year in education – eleven in the middle school classroom and seven in staff development (teacher learning).
Why teach: Teaching allows me to share my love of the English language with middle schoolers in the hopes that my passion for reading and writing will be contagious!
Best thing about your job: It’s challenging, rewarding, and entertaining! (Have you ever spent an hour with 90 different middle schoolers a day?!)
Best thing about your school: Our leadership and teachers have a positive, can-do attitude, and we are always looking at ways to improve.
New School Year: I’m ready for school to start – I do much better on a schedule. Teachers go back on the 14th of this month and the students start on the 22nd. I’m really looking forward to meeting my new students!
Loves: Family, friends, sunshine, reading and travel
Reads: Right now, I’m reading the second book in a series for young adults: Where She Went, by Gayle Forman. I am always reading a book, either young adult books to recommend to my students or books for adults.
Family: I live with my hubby of eight years, Rick, who is a professor of political science at Francis Marion University in Florence.
Pets: In January, we sadly said goodbye to our cocker spaniel Berkeley, who almost made it to her 15th birthday! Soon after, we adopted a cat from the Noah Program in Surfside. Leela has just one eye, but you would never know it. She’s feisty and a welcome addition to our home!
Inspiration: Music is a large part of my life. Singing and dancing are an escape for me, whether I’m belting out tunes in my car, dancing with my niece and nephew or entertaining on the stage of the Theatre of the Republic in Conway.
Perfect Day: Sleeping in, going out for brunch with my husband, heading to the beach with friends and reading a great book.
Favorite Meal: Pasta with any kind of seafood; any dessert with chocolate (I’m not too choosy)!
Work Out: Yoga and walking
Beauty: I am a breast cancer survivor. I turned 40 in November and had my first mammogram in January. My doctor detected a lump, and I had a mastectomy in April. I am blessed to have caught the cancer before it entered my lymph nodes and bloodstream, so I should not need chemotherapy or radiation. For the next five years, I will take a pill to prevent my type of cancer from visiting my other breast. Throughout my journey, I asked my friends and family to be strong and positive for me. God has given me the strength and positivity to endure the unimaginable, as well. I was moved and honored that my Forestbrook Middle School family voted me as the staff member with the most positive attitude.
Challenges: Procrastination, chocolate
Friendship: Spending time with my girlfriends is rejuvenating. Laughter feeds the soul!
Dream: To someday retire, travel the world and write a book!