High School Student
Will be the first in his family to graduate from college
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: Growing up, I never had anything in common with my teachers.
Being a Mexican-American is tough, especially because a lot of us come from families who immigrated to the U.S. We always had to do the extra set of work and help our parents at their work, and it was that struggle that your teachers didn't understand.
It wasn’t until I reached high school, for the first time I had a teacher who was Mexican. As soon as he introduced himself to me I knew we were going to get along. Then we began to share the common problems that Mexican children have, the foods that we liked and we even shared the same taste in music, and that's what made me trust him and rely on him whenever I had a question or a problem and that’s when I realized that when you share something in common with someone, especially share the same race, you don’t feel alone, you don't feel outnumbered, you feel relieved that someone finally understands you and your struggles.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: When sharing a common interest, especially cultural background, it makes you trust that person, so when students and teachers share the same struggle or same taste in music it helps create a connection and that connection turns into trust and trust turns into a friendship.
That said, I believe it's beautiful that teachers and students share common interests, but does it matter? No, because although there's no commonality, there is that respect that makes you interact with that person.
Roberto plans to study science and engineering in college and start his own software company that will help make sure all children have access to computers. To hear more about Roberto's journey, watch this video of Kristin Leong's opening talk for Town Hall Seattle's #EducationSoWhite event.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.