“My students have brought immeasurable joy into my life.”
Dana Berge, Pascual LeDoux Academy
As you enter Pascual LeDoux Academy on any given weekday morning, you might hear the familiar sounds of what sounds like morning announcements as little ones scamper down the school’s hallways. On a recent morning, those sounds were actually the voice of Dana Berge, who happily ran down a list of students being designated “Super CUBS” — nominated by their classmates for exemplifying kind and courteous behavior.
“Bi-weekly each classroom nominates two students that exemplify CUBS: caring friend, use your words, be a good listener, and safe body,” Dana explained later. “It’s one of the ways we reinforce positive behavior to build stronger classroom and school culture.”
A native of Denver who grew up with three brothers, Dana attended East High School and is a graduate of Metro State University. During those years she played basketball for both schools and still likes to get out on the court from time to time, which probably helps in her efforts to keep pace with her energetic students, as well as juggle all the responsibilities of teaching.
“Though we all want to move mountains for our students the reality is we need more support, time, and resources to give them what they deserve,” she said. “I don’t know any good teachers that can complete all their work within contract hours. It seems like an impossible duty.”
Still, Dana wouldn’t choose a different profession under any conditions: “I love spending my days with authentic, entertaining and sweet little ones,” she said.
“I have always wanted to work in a way that brings a positive change to my community,” Dana said after completing her morning task. “I feel that working directly with children and families has the strongest impact. My students have brought immeasurable joy into my life.”
As a migratory ECE/Art teacher at Pascual, Dana navigates between seven different classrooms each day, adjusting to individual class environments as she goes. It’s a wonderful way to impact many different students, but she admitted it does have its limitations.
“It can be really difficult to walk into a different classroom culture seven times a day,” she said. “I would love to be able to set up my environment the way I want, display more student artwork and be able to have more long-term projects.”
Like nearly everyone in the profession, Dana laments the low salaries, long hours, and other challenges teachers face – in addition to the lack of resources. She acknowledges that she takes a second job each summer to help make ends meet, and she’s hopeful for the day that her profession receives its due.
“We have a profession that needs our full attention,” she said, “and should be paid in a way that reflects that need.”
It’s one of the reasons she said joined DCTA and remains a strong supporter.
“I have always been a firm believer that unions help give voice and power to the most valuable people in a profession,” she said. “DCTA helps me stay involved with big-picture issues and advocate for myself and my students.”
If you know of a DCTA teacher that should be featured here, please email their name and contact information to Amber Wilson – DCTA Secretary.