Elaine Rampersaud celebrates 25-year milestone at Dante Fascell Elementary School

Elaine Rampersaud credits her parents and teachers for her decision to become a primary school teacher. A few years after immigrating to the United States from the South American country of Guyana, she began her studies to become a teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

“I have always believed that education is the best way to improve one’s socioeconomic status, as I was taught by my parents and during my time in school,” says Elaine. “From an early age, I knew that I wanted to be an educator and inspire and encourage others to improve their lives in many different ways.”

Elaine began teaching at Dante Fascell Elementary School in 1999 and celebrated her 25th year of teaching on January 25th. She is currently teaching first grade but has also taught second and third grade. She is a graduate of Miami Dade College and Florida International University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Urban Education, with a specialization in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). 

“Ms. Rampersaud is a one-in-a-million kind of teacher who is always involved in a project or a “special dream,” says Eloisa Arandia, a parent of two children who have been in Elaine Rampersaud’s class. “I can’t forget an open house at in which she showed us her way to call children’s attention with a rain stick. It sounded like rain and kids immediately turned their faces to her, deviating attention from everything else. It seemed magic and special to me.”

Today, Elaine is teaching students whose parents were in her class decades ago. “I don’t know whether people are having kids younger or whether it’s just that I have aged that much,” she muses with a smile. She is the mother of three children of her own, the youngest of which attended Dante Fascell Elementary from the second grade. 

“One of the most important things we are doing at our school, in every curriculum in some way, is the practice of mindfulness,” explains Elaine. “I truly believe it’s needed because it gives the students an ability focus and look inside of themselves. To be fully present, pay attention and be aware. We do mindful breathing and mindful movements every day after lunch. We start off our day with gratitude for others and ourselves.”

Elaine looks toward a national non-profit called Donorschoose.org to fund many of her classroom projects. The organization allows the public to support schools through tax-deductible contributions. A list of school projects from teachers across the nation is available on their web site and people can select those with which they find common ground. 

“It’s a wonderful program and I’ve been given lots of gifts for my classrooms from donors,” says Elaine. “We’ve been able to launch projects on mindfulness, the pursuit of excellence, fairness and kindness, for example.” 

A primary belief of Elaine’s is that the school, home, and student all have equally important roles in education, like the three legs of a stool, she explains. “Parents are the child’s first teachers in life. They light the flame. A teacher’s job is to fan the flame and make it stronger, and the student must take responsibility and actively participate.”

As Elaine looks forward into her post-teaching years, she reflects on the good fortune she has had. She is deeply grateful for the support of her family, friends, administrators, colleagues, students and their parents for the love and support they have given to her over the years.

“I have been truly blessed in my chosen field. I don’t look at my teaching career as a job but as an opportunity to make the community a better place and to help enable the dreams of the children in my classroom.”

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