Help Wanted: Lee County Teachers share what it's like to teach within the District

Fox 4 is showing you the ins & outs of different careers in Southwest Florida
Posted at 8:13 AM, May 12, 2021

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Lee County School District is hiring teachers. If you're considering switching career paths to become a teacher, are getting your teaching degree, or thinking about coming out of retirement to teach for the Lee County School District for the first time, two teachers are sharing some insight on what it's like.

Ines Benkovski is an AP Mathematics Teacher at Fort Myers High School.

"It's really difficult to get these kids excited for Math," Ms. Benkovksi said. "I'm at my door, I try to get them all super excited. It really stinks with the masks, though, because we can't smile on them or anything. But I'm very excited to bring them into the classroom."

She said the start of the school day really sets the tone for her students, and the most important thing for her to do is reflect on the day before.

"What can I do to basically make more of an impact than I did yesterday? So it's more self reflection," she said.

Ms. Benkovski then makes sure her technology is working, goes through her lesson plans, and runs through the activities for the day.

"The most important thing is to essentially find what are they interested in," she said.

She said she often ties sports or other interest-areas into learning to keep her students engaged.

If you're interested in becoming a teacher, Ms. Benkovski said it's important to be patient, and not too hard on yourself.

"Probably my least favorite thing about teaching is not being able to reach everyone," she said. "It's very difficult having to set aside your emotions and your heart, and how much you care for some of the students. Because all I want to do is just adopt all the ones that need help. But I really can't do that. All you can do is just try to love them as much as you can."

Jose Vela, a 5th Grade Reading and Writing Teacher at Edgewood Academy in Fort Myers, agreed.

"You have to have a passion for helping children, and communicating, and working with a team and being flexible," Mr. Vela said.

This is his first year teaching, but Mr. Vela has caught on quickly, and said as a teacher, every day is different.

"Day to day for a teacher, it's basically adapting yourself to different situations, and understanding the kids, and understanding the momentum, and taking it from there. So you cannot come to the classroom with the fixed mind and plan, because sometimes the plan doesn't go the way you expect," he said.

"My favorite part about teaching is looking at their eyes and seeing that brightness, that 'Aha!' moment. That 'Finally, Mr. Vela! I got this!' That's what I love about this," he said.

For anyone who thinks they've got that special drive to be a teacher, Ms. Benkovksi said to follow your dreams.

"It's such a blessing to me, because I have hundreds of kids, right? So if I reach at least one of those kids, that's all that matters to me. You coming home happy and making a difference for those kids is what matters. Not the paycheck you receive, but making that difference," she said.

If Ms. Benkovski and Mr. Vela have convinced you to go for it, you can apply to be a teacher here. Remember, you need to have a Bachelor's degree, but it does not have to be in teaching.