Maria del Carmen Ponciano
MS, Elementary Bilingual Special Education
When Maria del Carmen Ponciano, an education administrator with degrees in psychology and sociology, became an adjunct instructor at Bronx Community College, it was her first time in front of a class. She enjoyed the experience so much that she changed her career plan and became a New York City Teaching Fellow.
Ms. Ponciano was assigned to City College to earn her masters in elementary bilingual special education while she taught at P.S. 64, an elementary school in the Highbridge section of the Bronx with a large Hispanic immigrant population. This month, she will graduate with a 3.98 GPA and membership in Kappa Delta Pi, the international education honor society.
“I see teaching as a union of my degrees in psychology (bachelors) and sociology (masters),” the resident of Elmhurst, Queens, says. “Sociology is still a factor because of the community issues and psychology because I’m a special education teacher.”
An avid traveler who has already visited 15 countries, Ms. Ponciano, who was born in Spain but has lived in New York since she was one, says her journeys have helped her bring a global perspective into the classroom. “Teachers need to be global citizens. They have to have a good understanding of what’s going on in the world as well as their immediate area.”
Her teaching experience and training at CCNY have helped her develop perspective on what 21st century teachers must do to help their students succeed. “Education has to be about interaction between you and the student, the student and other students and the student and what he or she is learning. They have to be physically involved, and not just receiving information.”
At City College, she has gained reinforcement of what she has learned first-hand teaching in the Bronx. “What’s really been rewarding is the connections I’ve made with the professors,” she says, “Each professor brings passion and determination to the classroom, and that further inspires me and makes me feel like I’m doing the right things.”