In retrospective… I miss teaching

21 Sep

I grew up in a Mexico – USA border town, Juarez-El Paso. Lived the first half of my life in Mexico and the other half in Texas, so if you ask me- I am from the border. I have moved from place to place since 2004 when I first set out to find my way. From Culinary School in Austin to the Disney College Program in Orlando to study abroad in Florence, Italy to a full time job in D.C. to graduate school in NYC. Home is still the the border. I have a B.A. in Special Education and worked for two years at an inner city high school in Washington, D.C. as a 10th grade Special Education Teacher. While I thoroughly enjoyed working with my group of high school students, I soon discovered that the educational system is full of loopholes. The absurd obsession with standardized testing, the lack of teacher’s autonomy, the power struggles, the misrepresentation of special education kids, the countless lies, but overall working for the system instead of working for the students is what took a toll on me.  Despite all that, leaving my students was one of the hardest things. My students became part of my family away from home and I became their “safe space”.  I miss fighting with and for them, I miss coaching girls soccer, I miss being around them, I miss laughing and crying with them, I miss struggling with them, I miss talking with them- I miss teaching.

Having been educated in two totally different educational systems I have always been interested in learning about comparative international education. As a student with a minor speech impediment in elementary school in Mexico, an English Language Learner (ELL) student in high school in Texas and my experience as a  Special Education teacher inspired me to further my research in inclusive education practices, or lack of, in developing countries. A Masters in International Education with a more practical approach brought me to NYC, even though I thought I would never live here, but life happens and here I am, a semester short from graduation. My passion is inclusive education and my research so far has been in the area of child protection, education in emergencies and I am now about to immerse in the area of (de)institutionalization of children with disabilities in developing countries.

The first year of grad school was quite an experience; transitioning from a full time job to being a full time student was hard. Having to adapt to NYC life while getting in the habit of reading tons of pages per week wasn’t easy either.  I spent nights trying to make sense of  Mr. Marx, Mr. Weber and Mr. Foucault with little luck at first, posting on group discussions right before the deadline, sleepless nights and endless days at the library. I just finished a summer internship with UNICEF and as my studies come close to an end, I am excited for what the future might bring.

Soccer summer camp 2010

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