Teacher Feature: LPECC’s Deidra Dunbar builds relationships in community

 By Judith Roberts

Kids say the dardenest things, and Deidra Dunbar gets to hear them all. 

Dunbar, who has taught preschool at the Lincoln Parish Early Education Center since 2014, said that hearing from her 4- and 5-year-old students is the best part of her job. 

“I literally love my job,” Dunbar said. “They’re going to give you the bluntness of it. I love my job. Even in the summer, I tutor kids because at that age kids’ vibes are totally different from adults. They’re hilarious. No matter how bad you’re feeling that day – just get around a 4- or 5-year-old.” 

However, even in the laughter, learning occurs, Dunbar said. 

“The way the kids develop, they learn the best between the ages 0 and 5,” she said. “That’s when you learn the most in your life. They’re like a sponge. You have so many opportunities to teach them something positive. It’s something that sticks with them. When you teach a kid to read, that’s something you can never take away from a person. Preschool is important because of the skills you develop that you need. Tying shoes, proper ways to eat, those early reading skills – they are important because they help establish a solid foundation for school.” 

It’s not all about academics either, she added. Part of her educating is teaching students how to build relationships with teachers. 

“I want to make sure they have a positive experience at school,” Dunbar said. “I want them to enjoy school. They have a long time ahead of them. I want them to learn how to develop a relationship with their teachers. That relationship – knowing how I can help them outside academics – is important to me. I want to have a relationship with my students and my parents. They’re trusting you with a lot, and you want to have a trusting relationship with your child’s teacher.” 

And for the new teachers coming in this fall, Dunbar suggests keeping an open mind. 

“Be willing to see outside of yourself,” she said. “Yes, you just learned from books and where you are, but be open minded. It’s important to learn each child. Use your resources and communicate with other teachers so we can all be on the page and learn more.” 

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