About Ms. Jasztal

Hello, my name is Victoria, and I have been an upper elementary educator for the past decade. On April 24, 2004, I graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, and approximately a month and a half later, I was hired as a fourth grade teacher. My internship had been in second grade, though I was always intrigued by either teaching fourth or fifth grade students.

I remained at my first school for eight years. I was self-contained for four years (from 2008-2012) as an advanced fourth grade teacher, which consisted of a few gifted students. Last year, I was in a team teaching situation (though in a different classroom) where I taught Language Arts and the teacher next door taught Math. The other years, Language Arts and Math rosters were based on ability grouping, so I had a great deal of experience teaching advanced reading courses as well as both advanced and remedial math. (I taught advanced math for one year and remedial math for three years.) Then this year, I transferred to a K-8 school to pursue gifted education as a fifth grade teacher. Next year, I will continue teaching fifth grade.

Despite all the blabbering above about Language Arts and Math, though, my true (teaching) passion is Science. It hasn't always been; I loved teaching fourth grade Social Studies (because I know a great deal about Florida's history) as well as anything regarding writing. However, as I became more fearless in approaching Science, I have embraced it a great deal more. My students have done the following-- dissected cow eyeballs and sheep hearts, completed a number of engineering challenges, separated mixtures, constructed rubber band-propelled vehicles, and constructed catapults to haul mini-pumpkins. Astronomy, Physics, and Chemistry are my favorite branches of Science-- in that order.

I consider myself a fortunate person because I have been able to partake in some phenomenal professional development over the years. For the 2009-2010 school year, I served as the grades 3-5 national Teacher Advisor on Scholastic.com, and then I have had the opportunity to attend sensational events like the Texas Gifted and Talented Conference, Be a Pilot Day Social at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the GRAIL launch at Kennedy Space Center. I am a graduate of the Space Academy for Educators at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Probably the "coolest" claim to fame I have regarding prominent individuals is meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I am an aspiring author; I have written a few chapter books for the upper elementary audience and written a great deal about education as well, from contributing on weblogs to publishing a few resources on TpT. Graphic design and maintaining websites captivates my fancy, so this summer, I plan on opening two HUGE domains, one of which will be dedicated to science education. I hope to be the most innovative and intriguing I can possibly be... with the help of nearly forty other educators and education advocates. Looking at the contributor list, I could not be any more honored!

Other interests of mine include-- traveling, photography, drawing, visiting historical sites and museums, reading, performing arts (theater and vocal performance), baking, riding roller coasters, and spending quality time with my family as well as my friends. I consider my close friends family and love being awesome to River, my friend Allyson's four year old son.

Before I depart, here are a few "life goals" on my "bucket list". I don't know if they will ever happen, but I am not taking them off because anything is possible. This is in no particular order.
  • Get married and have children. 
  • Help students to read in a third-world country, even if just once. 
  • Meet Bill Nye. 
  • Publish a chapter book for upper elementary/middle school children. 
  • Go to Disneyland France to ride Crush's Coaster. 
  • Establish and open my own school. 
  • Learn sign language, even just a bit. 
  • Present at a conference, not necessarily as the keynote speaker, but simply... presenting. 
  • Attend Advanced Space Academy for Educators. Out of everything above so far, this is the most possible goal. Well, besides getting married and having children, though I believe Space Camp will arise before that happens. 
  • Learn to play the violin. I've had this goal since high school and still don't know why to this day. 
  • Start a foundation to help people achieve their hopes and dreams. Yes, I want to be a philanthropist. 
  • See Hawaii. (Happened last year.) 

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