The Student News Site of South Dade High School

The Current

The Student News Site of South Dade High School

The Current

The Student News Site of South Dade High School

The Current

Eylene Betancourt Wins Rookie Teacher of the Year for 2023-2024

Teaching+contemporary+history+to+her+International+Baccalaureate+class%2C+Eylene+Betancourt+leads+a+lesson+on+the+unification+of+the+Islamic+religion+during+medieval+times.+Being+selected+by+her+peers+as+Rookie+Teacher+of+the+Year+was+a+nice+recognition+for+what+she+does+in+the+classroom.
Dakota Montalvo
Teaching contemporary history to her International Baccalaureate class, Eylene Betancourt leads a lesson on the unification of the Islamic religion during medieval times. Being selected by her peers as Rookie Teacher of the Year was a nice recognition for what she does in the classroom.

Even though it’s only her second year at South Dade, Eyelene Betancourt already has won the hearts of many students, fellow teachers, and staff, being recognized as the Rookie Teacher of the Year for the 2023-2024 school year. She was shocked at the announcement of the title, and she is grateful to be honored for her commitment to her students these past two years. “I was very surprised and honored at the same time because I know the school has amazing teachers, rookies and veterans, I’m very grateful,” Betancourt said.  

Although she is relatively new to teaching at South Dade, her journey as an educator began seven years ago. Since she had exposure to students when she was a student in high school, she knew she always wanted to educate and inspire young adults when she started teaching in 2016. “I started my classroom journey as an after-school care leader as a 17-year-old in high school, as part of work experience. I always used to work with children in the classroom, but wanted to specialize in teenagers.

It wasn’t always easy in the beginning, there were some hardships and challenges she had to face as a rookie teacher at Buc Nation. Even as teachers, educators are also learning along the way. She had some struggles adjusting to the difference in curriculum at South Dade. “Learning how to become an Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teacher was challenging. The curriculum is very different from Miami-Dade County school’s curriculum. That was one of the hardest challenges I had at being at South Dade, but because I have such a great team of people who have done this longer and are successful, my journey now is great. I feel very confident in my second year.”

In her first year, she leaned on the support of many of her fellow teachers, and she now hopes to be able to use her experience to be able to give new teachers some advice. “I would say get to know your students, where they come from, their parents, and have conversations with them. Let them know it’s okay to go through hard challenges in the classroom. The #1 fundamental rule with working with teenagers, and working with high-level children, is getting to know them and their struggles, so you’re able to create your lessons in ways you can support them.”

While she is enthusiastic about her recognition, she would also like to stop to give a special shout-out and message to those who will be held close to her heart. “I would like to give a shout-out to all my kids, especially my IB seniors. My kids have been with me for two years in a row, and even though I am tough on them, I adore and love them. I know they will accomplish everything they say they will accomplish. I can’t wait to see them in their cap and gown. Thank you to Ms. Major, and everybody downstairs that actually believes in me.”

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Dakota Montalvo, Staff Photographer
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