Inspirational Journey of Bradley Teacher

Inspirational Journey of Bradley Teacher
Posted on 02/08/2024

Cornelia Nicholson has been inspiring students for decades. This Q&A offers insight into her journey.


How long have you been teaching? 28 years overall and 23+ years in the Asbury Park School District.


Which grades? I have taught primarily second, third and fourth grades. When I first came to Asbury Park, I taught third grade and then moved to gifted and talented. Currently teaches third grade advanced education.


Educational background? I went to Montclair High School and in the afternoons, I went to performing arts school. I danced but wasn’t sure that dance would provide the lifestyle I wanted. I graduated from Rutgers Newark with a major in Africana Studies/Psychology with a minor in Education.


What is your favorite part about teaching in Asbury Park School District?  The students! I enjoy what I do. It’s never a dull moment and it’s always learning both ways. Being able to see that “aha moment” when they get it and when they push through that challenging moment, that speaks volumes.


What is your greatest challenge?  Across the board in education in general was the change that the pandemic brought into the field. As a result, I see there is a lot of work that needs to be done to help support the children. Some of their challenges and deficits are getting back to understanding the structure of learning.


What made you want to become a teacher? Honestly, at the time, I was going to be a lawyer but when I started my family, I thought it would take from that so I went with a different motivation.  I come from a long line of teachers. My mother and aunts were teachers. Just being in the environment. I remember my mom taking us to school with her. Seeing some of the rewards she experienced motivated me. Teaching for me was a natural progression.


How do you motivate your students? I develop a rapport with my students to find out who they are and what their likes and dislikes are. I let them know that we can learn from each other. I always enjoy celebrating them too. I tell them that we work hard and then we play hard.


What is one of your favorite memories in education? I have so many but the one thing that is a really good feeling is when I run into former students and they share with me that I always kept it real with them and they say thank you.


What are your goals for this year? Meeting the students where they are. I hope to continue to  meet their academic, social and emotional needs and to help them learn about the structure of third grade and prepare them for 
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