New Jersey Devils Teacher Highlight and Most Valuable Teacher Nominee!

New Jersey Devils Teacher Highlight and Most Valuable Teacher Nominee!


Maria David


Liberty Middle School

Classroom Team:

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I was not a great student, but I always found that schools was a safe haven for me.  My experience as a student was meaningful because of many great teachers and mentors I had along the way and I wanted to pay it forward.

What has been your most memorable moment as a teacher?

There have been many, but one email I received from a parent jumps out at me. She recognized my hard work in a way no one had previously. I printed it and I keep it in my desk as a boost on days I feel like giving up. Words are powerful. They can hurt or they can help. I hope my speech in general is a model for how we are all in this together and we need to support each other in words and actions.

What is your favorite part of Future Goals and how are you using it in your classroom? 

I’ve used Future Goals for several years now. I changed my role as a general education teacher to a special education teach three years ago. As a general education teacher, it fit perfectly into our curriculum and standards. I was impressed because it is very well thought out and the students find it entertaining. But I know they also learned from the modules. As I have transitioned to teaching students with IEPs, I still found it as useful and engaging as in the past. I did have to make it more of a direct instruction lesson, but I could tell the students enjoyed it and learned from it.

What was your student’s reaction to the program?

The best reaction I have gotten over the years was from a student this year. We used the module in October, early in the school year. Being that we are remote learning it’s been challenging getting to know my students in terms of their likes, lives and preferences. One student who had been particularly quiet in the beginning of the year, completely opened up about how much he loved hockey. He plays hockey on travel and rec. That was a bonding moment for us and our small class. I am happy he feels confident in class and is willing to share not only personal stories but actively engages in the lessons I teach. The ironic thing is that I was going to email Chloe to tell her, because he was so excited! 

Who is your favorite player? 

Jack Hughs. Obviously I like him because he is a good player. He is young and still has plenty of time to grow and hone his skills. I also find him interesting because of his young age. He is almost exactly my daughter’s age. To see a 19 year old excel at this level is impressive.