- St. Luke Parish School
Teacher Spotlight: Dorothy Zajac
Meet 2nd grade teacher, nature lover, reading specialist, and mom of three little ones, Dorothy Zajac. Mrs. Zajac has been a beloved member of the St. Luke community for more than 12 years.
What is your educational background?
With my family, I immigrated from Poland to Chicago at the age of seven. I attended Beaubien Elementary School for a few years until we moved to Addison, where I attended Junior Trail and Addison Trail High School. On Saturdays, I spent my mornings learning the Polish language, rich history, and customs and traditions of my native country. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a specialization in Earth and Environmental Science from University of Illinois at Chicago. I went on to complete a Master of Arts in Reading, with an endorsement as a Reading Specialist, from Loyola University.
What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at St. Luke?
During college and prior to becoming a teacher, I worked at Osco Drug store in the photo developing department. On Saturdays, I also taught 1stgrade at the Polish School where I had spent so much time as a child. During the summers, I worked with children as a camp counselor and was also involved in Youth Ministry at my parish, Holy Trinity, in Chicago.
Why do you believe in Catholic education?
I am blessed to be a part of the St. Luke School community. A very blessed part of my life is my Catholic faith. I believe in Catholic education because I can offer the most treasured part of my faith with children. Catholic education strives to expose students to a rich curriculum that imparts knowledge and learning experiences for each of them as individual learners. Children develop not only intellectually but spiritually as well. They receive a strong foundation of the Catholic faith that will lead them through life. Children learn to celebrate life and faith, to take action, and promote social justice. A sense of community can be felt when you walk into our St. Luke School building.
What do you like most about the St. Luke community?
What I ‘love’ most about our St. Luke community is how we share our lives with one another-how we share our joys, faith, challenges; and most of all our ideas and experiences of how to best create a learning environment where every child is valued and thriving.
What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?
As I reflect on my own teaching, I am always amazed at how much I learn from the children I teach every day. I believe the greatest success a teacher can have is when her students’ ask questions about the world, collaborate in group activities, and make personal connections to the stories we read in class.
How do you motivate your students to become active learners in your classroom?
Children by their nature are intellectually and creatively curious. I love to direct their natural energy toward the content of the curriculum. I try to convey high expectations of learning for all students and motivate them to give nothing but their best! It is fulfilling to me as a teacher to share activities and lessons which are designed to offer hands on learning and challenge student’s higher-level thinking.
What do you like to do outside of the classroom?
Outside of the classroom, my husband and I are very busy raising three ‘busy’ beautiful children. My most cherished moments are playing with the kids outside; digging in the dirt (yes, I really do!) or playing at the park. I love the outdoors and nature and where I feel God’s presence filling me. My family enjoys hiking, camping, swimming, and in the winter months, skiing. In the evening hours, once my family falls asleep and my home is filled with stillness, I treasure the moments of silence and prayer.