Melanie Tanseco: 'They are children first and they have unique needs'
Kindergarten - 2nd Grade
Special Education, Mild/Moderate Severe Autism
J.C. Crumpton Elementary School
J.C. Crumpton Elementary School Special Education Teacher Melanie Tanseco’s path to becoming a teacher was intense. She immigrated to the United States from the Philippines to pursue a career helping the most neediest of students - those with students with exceptional needs. But, what many of her peers and supervisors may not know is that she came to the United States and studied and trained for eight months without her husband and young children (who were then ages 3 and 7).
She was new to the country and to the region navigating her path toward her mandated CTC requirements, as well as dealing with immigration lawyers and the expenses that came along with that process. Once she met her CTC requirements, her family joined her in the United States.
Right now, Melanie teaches students in kindergarten through second grade at J.C. Crumpton Elementary School in a mild to moderate autism class. Sine has been at Crumpton since 2009, but first started her career in MPUSD at Ord Terrace Elementary in 2007.
Melanie earned her bachelor’s degree in the Philippines, her credential in special education (mild/moderate severe) from National University, and is currently pursuing her master’s online and will graduate in December 2022.
Her road to teaching and experience is not lost on her, and she has been a strong advocate for a teaching buddy program for other teachers migrating from the Philippines. Her experience has paved the way for others entering the profession in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.
Due in part to Melanie’s advocacy, the district developed a K-12 mentor program where Melanie engages with special education teachers across the district to help mentor them and help them to be successful. She expressly said that she wants that feeling for others, especially her Filipino colleagues.
“When we came we didn’t have anybody and I know what they are going through. I am there for them,” she says. “It is my way to give back.” Melanie says in other districts there is competition amongst the Filipino communities, but thanks to Melanie MPUSD has set up a system migrating teachers to succeed.
Melanie is a do-er and she doesn't know how to say no because as she says, “She loves what she is doing.” What motivates her is that she always wants to know more about her students. Despite their disability, she wants to help them maximize their talent.
“They are children first and they have unique needs,” says Melanie.
For many of her parents, learning their child has a learning disability may be the first time they are hearing about it. She provides a sense of assurance for parents and helps them build knowledge or awareness about their child’s needs, as well, help them know what to do and what resources the school has in place for their child. She goes out of her way to help parents carry the learning into their home because she knows family support is very important to her students’ success.
For example, she partners with parents, such as talking with them or even as far as setting up visuals in a student’s home to help the child be successful. Many of her former students’ parents stay in touch with her and when she hears about their progress she says that is very rewarding.
One of Melanie’s greatest contributions is teaching her students to read. This lights her up. She teaches students in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade, and when they first enter her classroom they don’t know how to read. What brings her happiness is when they begin reading small books and building their learning skills, and then can apply it across all learning opportunities in the classroom setting.
For example, when students are studying about animals and then go on a field trip to the aquarium she is able to ask questions and gets excited when they are able to respond and answer. She has found for her student population that hands-on learning works best and it is perhaps one of the most important parts of their learning process. She believes it is her job to be consistent and ensure her students continue on a path toward learning growth.
It is clear that Melanie loves what she does. She has a strong passion for students.
“It is a good feeling to be with the kids,” she says. She also enjoys the connections she has made along the way and still connects with former students and parents. She recently ran into one of the first students she taught, and the student is now at CSUMB studying film. It’s news like this why Melanie Tanseco got into teaching. She is so thankful to her students’ parents for trusting her with their students.
Melanie’s husband, Lloyd Tanseco, is a member of the MPUSD team working in the Information Technology department, and both of Melanie’s children are products of MPUSD schools.