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Getting to Know VCUSD's Teacher of the Year Amber Chatterjee

Amber Chatterjee watches a line of students walk past her.VALLEJO, Calif. - Amber Chatterjee is far from home. The Nashville, Tenn., native started working at the Vallejo City Unified School District in August 2021 after relocating with her family. Despite only being here for a few years and being a distance from where she grew up, her work as a teacher has never faltered. She has done so well at Glen Cove Elementary School that the kindergarten/first-grade teacher was named VCUSD’s Certificated Employee of the Year. Learn more about Mrs. Chatterjee and why she teaches. 

1. How did you feel when you learned you were chosen as the certificated employee of the year? 

I was surprised because I had done what I had been doing for several years. But I was also thankful for the opportunity and experience. 

2. What is your favorite thing about working at VCUSD? 

I love working with the students and parents at VCUSD. I love it when the light bulb clicks and students believe they can read or understand a math strategy. 

3. What do you love most about your school? 

I enjoy working at Glen Cove Elementary. I can make professional decisions that are best for the students in my classroom. I love my students here and the growth they make each year.

4. What are your goals for this school year? 

This school year, I aim to have as many students as possible reading at or above grade level. I also want students to be able to do basic math with several strategies to solve problems. 

5. Why did you choose to become a teacher? 

I became a teacher because I wanted to give students the gift of reading. I grew up in a home where my father could have been a better reader. I loved how my librarian read to me, and I wanted to be able to do the same. While in high school, I was allowed to work at a daycare on campus. We taught a lesson about brushing our teeth. I was sold at that moment. I knew that teaching would be for me. 

6. What’s your favorite grade to teach and why? 

My favorite grade to teach is first grade because it is where students learn the basics of reading and writing. I love it when the students get it. 

7. Do you have any advice for teachers who may be new to the profession? Or those who are thinking about becoming a teacher? 

Please do it! We need you! My advice would be to be open-minded and willing to learn. 

8. What is the most satisfying part of teaching? 

The most satisfying part of teaching is when students say, “I can read!” In addition, I love getting to know students and their families. I love to watch them grow through the elementary years.

9. What is your biggest challenge as a teacher? 

My biggest challenge is having enough time for planning, teaching, and personal life. So I have to work very hard at work-life balance. 

10. What do you like to do with your free time when you are not teaching? 

I love spending time with my family. We enjoy traveling to new places. I also like to read and take walks.

11. Do you have any vacation plans for the summer? 

Yes, I am going to Hawaii with my family. You will also probably see me at the library with my little boy. We love story time.