Photography by Jana Melinda Photography
Meet Michela. She is Beauty Revived.
It was such an honor photographing Michela and her beautiful family. I learned that she hadn’t had family portraits done in at least three years, so I decided that her whole family needed to be included! We ventured out to Rush Ranch in Suisun City, CA – a special place that they love to visit and explore as a family. I asked Michela a few questions about her experience as a teacher over the years, and her answers were so heartfelt. I even became a bit teary reading them.
Jana: What do you teach?
Michela: I teach 5th grade GATE at KI Jones Elementary School. This is my 16th year as a teacher and I’ve also taught 6th grade and 3rd grade.
J: What was your favorite moment in teaching?
M: I’d have to say that the most rewarding moments about teaching are the relationships formed. Some are temporary and some are life long. Teaching is a career that thrives on interacting with one another; even in the hardest of relationships there is a small seed that is planted.
J: Tell me about a time while teaching when you knew you were meant to be a teacher.
M: Interesting – I knew I was meant to be a teacher as early as the 3rd grade. My mom was a teacher and I would spend my days after school in her classroom, dreaming for the time when I could one day have my own chalkboard to write on. Fast forward 15 years and getting hired to finally be a teacher I felt more the opposite – “Was I really meant to do this? Maybe I made a wrong choice. This is much harder than I expected.” Teaching requires so much of all of who you are. It takes, takes and takes. It’s all the little moments that add up throughout the day, week and year that remind you that you were meant to do this – the student who hands you a drawing, the parent who writes an appreciative note – the class working in harmony together, creating lifelong memories.
J: What has been your biggest success as a teacher?
M: I look around at all the lovely people I’ve met and have grown close to – students, parents, colleagues – and I know how important these people have been and are to me. I would measure my success that in some small way they would feel the same about my presence in their lives.
J: Tell me about when you have made a difference in the life of one child.
M: I recently ran into a former student who was from my first year of teaching. He’s now in his late 20’s and he was panhandling in front of our Target store. He didn’t recognize me at first, but I went up to him and said his name and hi. We hugged, and it was a long, tight hug – the kind of hug where there was depth and meaning. His eyes were teary when we started to talk again. I was incredibly saddened for his situation; however, his comments were all about what wonderful memories he had of the 6th grade, and how he would like to go back to that time in his life. On the contrary, a student from that same class has been in contact with me as she just got hired to be a 6th grade teacher herself, and was excited to share her news with me.
Nicky (Michela’s Best Friend): “My best friend, Michela, is a teacher at K.I. Jones in Fairfield. She is on her 16th school year and is a great teacher. She was awarded Teacher of the Year a few years ago, and always goes above and beyond. She runs several programs at the school, and is the coach for Girls on the Run, which is a non-profit running program for girls ages 8 to 13. She organizes collecting supplies for The Heather House, a homeless shelter that provides families with a ‘home-like’ setting, and they receive individualized case management to assist with their individual issues. All the fifth grade classes collect toilet paper, soap, paper towels canned food, you name it, people will donate it. They then fill a HUGE trailer and take the kids to form a train to unload the trailer there. The director says that the supplies help them for almost an entire year. On top of all that, Michela is on the worship team at church, and has played the drums since 4th grade. She is the co-director of our children’s ministry, as well as plans and executes VBS (Vacation Bible School) each year, which is a huge undertaking! I am so blessed to be celebrating 30 years of friendship with her this October!”
About the Photographer
Jana Melinda Photography is a High School Senior Portrait Photographer who resides in Northern California. Loving the opportunity it creates to instill confidence, Jana began specializing in Senior Portraiture three years ago. While running her business and being a single mom keeps her busy, in her spare time you may find her exploring the coastal views and trails or hanging out at her favorite local coffee shop.