Teacher Feature: The moments that matter

Teacher Feature: The moments that matter

Gibbon ELL teacher Stacy Quinteros

By Tyler Dahlgren

For Stacy Quinteros, gratification often comes from a head nod.

An affirmation of understanding from a proud student to their teacher, these moments are simple, and even ordinary in most classroom settings.

For Quinteros, an English Language Learner teacher to 50 students in Gibbon, they’re the ones that matter the most.

“The most rewarding part of what I do is getting those Aha! moments where something clicks for a student,” Quinteros said. “They are learning the language and using it correctly. Then they start practicing and realize ‘Yeah, I did it correctly!’ and they look at you with that face looking for approval.”

Being able to nod back, having the chance to encourage, that’s what it’s always been about for Quinteros.

Born in Bolivia and raised in Lexington, she attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney and worked with Kearney Public School’s ELL program, falling in love with her job not long after. Back to school Quinteros went, her sights set on a teaching endorsement.

“What brought me to Gibbon was its diversity,” she said. “It was close to home, too, so I didn’t have to relocate.”

Quinteros teaches ELL students grades 5-12. In addition to her 50 students, she monitors 10 more. Her students come from different backgrounds and experiences. Her job is complex, and patience is a virtue.

Not only are her students learning a new language while keeping up with curriculum, but they’re also trying to become accustomed to a foreign culture.

“For them, that experience is very different because they all come from different places,” Quinteros said. “Even if they do come from the same country, they come from different regions where they have experienced this or never experienced that. I have students from Mexico, Central America, Cuba. They are all very unique.”

As different as her students may be, they all are yearning to learn.

“These kids work really, really hard,” she added. “They want a better future. They have goals in life and are working towards them.”

Quinteros came to Gibbon because of its diversity, but is staying because of the community’s caring culture. Her students feel welcomed, and that sense of being a part of the community is something they appreciate and enjoy.

That inclusiveness is reflected in the way Gibbon’s student body shows support for ELL students. Always there to help, Quinteros said.

“Because there are some classes that my limited English speakers take, like art, for example, and I may not have support there for them, there is usually someone there that is not ELL interpreting for them and guiding them.”

She also feels immense support from the Gibbon administration, which has placed an emphasis on the ELL program and developing relationships with its students.

“They support this program and know the importance of it,” Quinteros said. “They are doing everything they can in order to help me help these kids to succeed.”