Years in Education: 7-10
Middle and High School Science Teacher
Q: What do you have in common with your students?
A: Right now I work in Los Fresnos, which is a small South Texas town near the border with Mexico. Minutes away is Brownsville where I was born and raised during my early childhood: where both sets of my grandparents live, where my aunts and uncles call home.
I feel like I have everything in common with the students I work with.
Most of us come from hard-working families where the dominant language is Spanish. We share the same culture, we eat the same food, we listen to the same music, we speak the same language, we have the same shade of skin; in my eyes we share the same identity.
The only difference is the obstacles that we have had to overcome. Some of us have climbed hills while others had to climb mountains. We come from a region where the roots of two countries are intertwined and have fused deeply together.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
No, I do not believe that teachers and students must share something in common, although I do believe it can make things easier and transitions much smoother. As long as both teachers and students have open minds and hearts and are eager to learn from each other, all obstacles and barriers including differences in language, culture, and identity can be overcome.
Alejandra is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator. Her Innovation Project #LightUpLiteracy is spreading awareness about the shocking illiteracy rate among American high school graduates, and is making reading and writing across disciplines fun and accessible. Follow her on Twitter @aguzmanscience.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.