At Edinboro Early School, Margaret Abed’s peers call her the kid whisperer.
“When she has challenging kids, she never raises her voice,” said Edinboro Early School director Suellen Gerbracht. “She’s what we call firm but kind.”
Fellow teacher Allison Jacob said, “She’s very compassionate and cares about children. She is very calm in all emergencies.”
Abed asks to teach the children with challenging behavior because she is passionate about helping them discover joy for learning. But she enjoys teaching all her students and she loves Edinboro Early School.
“The parents are wonderful, and Edinboro gives teachers leeway in how they present the material,” Abed said. “I make up my own songs, make up my own games.
“Play is learning,” she said. “Sitting there only doing papers is not what kids should be doing in preschool.”
Abed is Edinboro’s longest-tenured teacher. She joined the school part-time in 1995 and moved to full-time, all after taking a teaching hiatus following the birth of her daughter. Before that, she worked for Montgomery Child Care Association, at the nonprofit’s Silver Spring location.
At Edinboro, she got another chance to work with preschool students, shaping their early development. With that age group, she witnesses many proud moments.
“We always talk about it ‘clicking in,’” she said. “The children don’t know the letter A from an elephant and then they get it. It’s really fulfilling and rewarding when a parent says, ‘My child has been counting to 20’ or classifying colors or singing ‘God Bless America.’”
Language, reading and math are important. So is developing the physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth of each child.
“Making friends and learning routines is just as important as whether you can count to 20 or know the alphabet,” Abed said. “When parents say, ‘My child is happy coming to school,’ we love to hear that because they are starting on a lifelong journey of learning.”
To pique kids’ interest in learning and encourage their curiosity, Abed engages them in creative projects. For A Native American unit, she makes vests. For another occasion, she created costumes of the characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from the Disney movie “Frozen.”
“She is a unique and creative seamstress,” Gerbracht said.
Ever since she played with baby dolls as a child, Abed knew she wanted to be an educator. She plans to transition back to a part-time role soon so she can spend more time with her grandchildren, but she wants to stay involved at Edinboro Early School.
She offered simple advice for anyone who wants to join the teaching profession.
“Make sure it’s a job you love,” Abed said. “If you love it, that makes a world of difference.”
Cafe Mezzanotte is a proud sponsor of Educator of the Month. To nominate a teacher, guidance counselor, principal or other educator, email firstname.lastname@example.org.