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Gail Zacher

Gail Zacher

Monte Vista Elementary School, Montclair, CA

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Gail's work combines: Education, Technology, and Helping People

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Day In The Life

Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education

I have taught public school Kindergarten for 26 years.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Behavioral Sciences

    California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be an Elementary School Teachers:

High School

Bachelor's Degree: Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies

Graduate Degree: Curriculum and Instruction

Doctorate: Educational Leadership and Administration, General

Certification: Teacher Education, Multiple Levels

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

I've taken a lot of twists and turns

  • 1.

    First I wanted to be a teacher but went to a career day in the medical field.

  • 2.

    Then I wanted to be a physical therapist so I entered CSULB on a state scholarship.

  • 3.

    Then I got married at 19, changed to Mt. Sac and got an AA in Gen. Ed. when I was 8 months pregnant.

  • 4.

    Then after 18 months I entered Cal Poly planning to become a psychologist.

  • 5.

    Then after my BA I was ill, had surgery and took a year off to be a mom and recover.

  • 6.

    Then I realized I really wanted to teach so I got a job as a Teachers Aide.

  • 7.

    I loved it but I wanted another child. Had one, miscarried another and realized I wanted more.

  • 8.

    So I returned to Cal Poly for my teaching credential. I still love it after 26 years!

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Family:

    My parents said "You should not go to college because you will drop out to get married and have babies." People said "You cannot be a teacher because Prop 13 passed and there are no jobs." Family members said "You can't go back to college because you have children. You do not have the patience to be a teacher or time to take care of other peoples children. Do you really think you are smart enough?" The teacher I worked for told me I was already a teacher in my heart and I heard that!

  • How I responded:

    I had a traumatic experience and realized that life was too short to let my dream pass me by. I realized that I had to make it happen to be whole and show my children not to give up. It was not easy to be a wife, mom of 2, student and Substitute teacher but I learned how to manage my time and accepted help from those who offered. Find a Cheerleader in your life or be your own. Do not let others tell you that you cannot do it or make you feel guilty. It is never too late to start again.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • My husband and I struggled to pay tuition and books. We learned the difference between wants and needs. We also ate a lot of beans and wore secondhand clothes.

  • One spouse has to be willing to wait to finish their dream. One works to put the other through school. Spouses must tell their own parents to be supportive of the one in school. You need to work as a team to be better off later.

  • I had to miss family events to study or attend class. They could not understand the commitment needed to complete a degree. Later they could see the benefits when I could help financially and as a mentor.