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Teachers are Heroes: Emile Garcia Dugan creates environment where students 'flourish'

Published Monday, March 19, 2018

Photo of Emile Garcia Dugan

Ms. Emile Garcia Dugan (Provided)

Hearing a student say they "cannot wait for science," or "science is the best part" is what Hanahan Middle School teacher Emile Garcia Dugan lives for.

As a child she dreamed of teaching and loved learning. Now she spends her days as a 6th-grade science teacher creating and fostering a love for learning in children with no clue they’re making her childhood dreams a reality.

“They have no idea that they are making my dream of teaching, the same dream I had at their age, come true over and over again,” Ms. Dugan said.

While Ms. Dugan lives her dream, she also gains valuable skills she applies elsewhere in life.

“Because of teaching, I am a better public speaker, more compassionate and empathetic towards others, and possess meaningful and valuable tools in conflict resolution - all of which I use in my everyday life,” she said.

For Emile Dugan, teaching isn’t just a facilitation of learning. It’s an experience, and she works hard to make sure she and her students get the most out of it.

“As a teacher, I aspire to be an excellent instructor, visible role model, and a compassionate authority figure. I strive to be knowledgeable of the subject being taught and express a constant desire for teaching it. I believe it is necessary to express behaviors that are morally just, respectful, and that exhibit understanding and tolerance toward humankind.”

She stays positive, inserts laughter with learning and makes it her mission to not just teach children, but play a role in the molding of future members of society. Like many teachers, one of her favorite aspects about the profession observing her impact in students’ lives.

That impact is noticeable.

“Emile is very passionate about teaching,” said Hanahan Middle School Principal Robin Rogers. “She delivers instruction with confidence and enthusiasm, creating a classroom environment where her students flourish. Her students absolutely love her!”

Ms. Dugan draws inspiration from several places, but admits her students play the largest role in her dedication to teaching.

“They (students) are the ones that truly make this profession so enjoyable and successful,” she said.                                                 

Ms. Dugan was the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year at Hanahan Middle School. Her selection is a testament to the high expectations she has for herself and her students. She says high expectations are things she also sees from leadership at her school and at the central services office in Moncks Corner.

“Both maintain high expectations for the overall success of the ‘whole child.’ We focus not only on the academics of the student, but on the emotional and behavioral well-being of the child,” she said.

Ms. Dugan is a graduate of College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She also has a certification in Gifted and Talented Education from the Graduate School at College of Charleston.


Brian Troutman