Educator Spotlight: Joseth Da Costa

Network Collaboration and Learning

Throughout the year, RISE will be shining a light on some of the many talented educators we partner with to achieve our mission of ensuring all students graduate with a plan and the skills and confidence to achieve college and career success.

This month we learn more about Ms. Joseth Da Costa, Grade 9 Mathematics Teacher at Hartford Public High School.

Q: What led you to get into the field of education?

A: As a young child, I can remember thinking that I wanted to be a police officer or a firefighter. I never thought I would go into education. However, this changed for me once I realized that I was able to explain concepts we were learning about in school to my friends and I was making an impact on them in a subject that I struggled with for many years.

Q: Why did you choose to become a math teacher, specifically?

After many years of struggling with math, I came across my ninth-grade teacher, who somehow made math make sense. His teaching methods helped me not only learn the information but build my confidence in a difficult subject. By my junior year of high school, Mr. White had me teaching the concepts to my peers class after class. I would be put in a small group to help my friends understand the concepts being taught. Once I realized that my friends were understanding math while I was helping them, this reinforced my thinking of entering the educational field.

Q: Who was an educator that inspired and shaped you?

Mr. White, my junior year math teacher, as well as my basketball coach, Mr. Jihad. Mr. White managed to get through to me in math class and helped format my teaching career, and I will always be grateful to him. Mr. Jihad, my basketball coach, also helped to guide me with focus and determination.

Q: What’s one of your proudest accomplishments as an educator?

It’s difficult to choose just one accomplishment. The one thing that stands out that I am really proud of is when my former students return to my class to tell me that what I was teaching them in Algebra 1 now makes sense for them in their higher-level math classes. One of my former students who struggled with math (similarly) to me, said he never thought he would be using as much math in his career choice, but was very thankful to me for getting him through his math courses during high school.

Q: What’s something you’ve learned/borrowed from another RISE Network partner?

During one of our RISE networking events, I learned about the idea of equity grading and how this concept is more beneficial in helping our students find success in the classroom. By grading with equity, we can make sure that the grades online accurately reflect what our students understand while in school.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I’m consistently involved with my church, taking care of my mom and daughter, and taking karate classes.