Assistant Teacher Guadalupe Rosado isn’t shy about the fact that the first time she applied for a position at Harmony House Early Learning Center, she was turned down.
In fact, there’s nothing about Rosado, who is fondly known as “Ms. Lupe” at the preschool, that’s demure. Her bubbly personality overflows in the Toddler 2 classroom, where she works with Teacher Lawanda Walker and can often be heard sprinkling Spanish words or phrases in her instructions to students.
“Siéntate,” she will gently tell a youngster, instructing him or her to sit down. Her students have also picked up Spanish words describing colors and can count from one to 10 as well, she said.
Rosado began working at HHELC on Sept. 4, 2012, but a few years earlier when she first applied, she was told that despite being a good candidate for the job, there were no position openings available.
At the time, Rosado worked at an all-Spanish-speaking daycare in Kearny. Her supervisor there quickly recognized Rosado’s talent for teaching and turned what was initially a volunteer role into a job offer during her first week.
Born in the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, Rosado came to New Jersey in 2004 as a married young mother with two sons. Previously, she was a payroll administrator in Ecuador but here she worked by providing childcare from her home in Kearny. When she took on the care of a developmentally disabled young boy, Rosado’s interest in teaching piqued.
“The kids learn when you play,” she said on a recent Friday in the classroom at HHELC, as the students rested on cots during their afternoon nap.
Sister Maurice Okoroji, Director of the early learning center, said she’s noticed that Rosado “simply loves what she does,” whether it is imparting knowledge, love or care to her students.
Rosado was hired at HHELC after a position opened and Okoroji invited her back for a second time. She acknowledges that she’s still working on her vocabulary and grammar. Rosado specializes in art projects (such as crafting the letter “L” into a ladybug out of red and black construction paper) and says those lessons help reinforce her own knowledge of English.
“I learn it with the kids,” Rosado said. Her goal is to eventually take English classes at Essex County College. Okoroji notes that Rosado has also taken advantage of ESL classes offered through New Community’s Adult Learning Center.
“She is hardworking and has great respect for the children and their parents as well as her colleagues. Above all, Ms. Lupe avails herself of every opportunity to better her English language skills,” Okoroji said.