After a week-long experience working side by side with Houston ISD teachers, the 10 UTRGV students received a letter of intent from the Teacher Recruitment & Selection team.
Dr. Luis Lucio, Senior Recruiter, gave them the news:
The aspiring teachers will have a job with Houston ISD once they graduate and pass all the certification exams.
During their one-week placement participants were assigned to Memorial, Durham, Jefferson, Kennedy, Mitchell, and Helms campuses.
This is what they had to say after their experience:
Melissa Gudino: Spent a week with Mrs. Castro’s Kindergarten class at Kennedy Elementary. “It was definitely an experience! The kids by the end of the week were interacting more. I had the hands-on experience I was expecting as a teacher. The school environment and the different things the campus offers in comparison to the Valley makes me like it a lot. In the classroom, I had the opportunity to work on sentence structure and syllables. My mentor teacher Mrs. Castro was great and facilitated the opportunity to do a one-on-one with some students. During the Math block, we worked with coins and had cutting and pasting activities. I have always considered Houston a place where I would like to teach and live, but after coming here and working and learning from HISD, I just have to say that I love it! You’ll never be bored in the city. I am very happy, pleased and lucky to have this opportunity because I am getting an insight of how everything works and getting to compare to other districts that I have gone and discover which is the best for my type of teaching style and, to be honest, Houston ISD has the best program in terms of structure and in general everything they offer students.”
San Juanita Puga: The UTRGV student was assigned to Jefferson ES and her mentor teacher was Ms. Janette Sossa. “This was a good experience. It was great to interact with the students and see how they are taught in Spanish and English. Most importantly, it was wonderful to see how students are able to make connections or answer what the teacher is asking. I see myself teaching here and it is something I will be looking forward to.”
Anais Morin: Kennedy ES was her campus for the week and her mentor teacher was Ms. Suarez. “This one-week placement was very beneficial because I was able to observe the students, interact with them and see how it is to build a closer relationship with them. I learned a lot from my mentor. It was great to see how she applies the strategies I’ve learned in the university and the best part, to apply them to a daily lesson. I think it is a great opportunity for us to really experience what it is like being a teacher. Ms. Suarez has been teaching not only kids but me! I have enjoyed being here and also having the opportunity to get to know the city after school. This allows me to be aware of what to expect and I have really been amazed. In addition, my host family, Ms. Lum welcomed us and took us around town, and it has been a pleasure to be here.”
Jyssania Gonzalez: Her assignment was in a second-grade classroom with Ms. Jimenez at Jefferson ES. “It was awesome! I learned a lot from my mentor Ms. Jimenez. My biggest takeaway is how she uses her time and the different methods implemented. It was very inspiring. I am very interested in teaching 2nd grade. I want to thank Houston ISD for this initiative that allowed us to see how different it is from the Valley. It is really a full experience.”
Elizabeth Verdin, was paired with Ms. DelaGarza’s 4th grade class at Memorial. “I felt really welcomed not only by the school but also by my host family. This has been a great experience, being able to see the city and learn firsthand from my mentor teacher.” After this opportunity, she hopes to become a bilingual elementary teacher with a minor in special education.”
Clarissa Garcia, also placed at Memorial ES had Ms. Robles as a mentor teacher. “It was an eye-opener. I saw that there are many types of learners in one classroom, that there are multiple ways to teaching and it is definitely different from the valley. I really like it here. I see myself teaching 4th grade in Houston. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Yvonne Amaro: The aspiring teacher had Durham Elementary as her campus for the week and her mentor teacher was Ms. Garza. “It is very different to be in an atmosphere that I have not experienced before because the structure of the school, the program is very different from back home. Being immersed in a real dual language program and seeing it in action is just great. I have learned a lot because in the valley we have bilingual programs but they are the early exit or late exit so being here is very beneficial. In my first grade class at Durham I was placed with Ms. Garza who is the Spanish Math and Language Arts teacher. So, two groups rotate; the first half of the day they are with the Spanish teacher and the second half with the English teacher. For students that might not speak the language, I was surprised that they write it, understand it and follow instructions. Overall it was a great experience to be here and actually see how the program works because we have only read it in books, I had the chance to apply the knowledge.”
Alexandra Escandon: Also assigned to Durham Elementary, Ms. Escandon was working in Ms. Zuniga’s first-grade class. “Since the beginning, I felt welcomed. My host family was wonderful and has given me a lot of insight not only regarding instruction but also in terms of the administration and management. What I really like about Durham was being able to have students from diverse backgrounds in the classroom. The school cares about uniting and building community by gathering the strengths and making sure everyone feels welcome and safe. At Ms. Zuniga’s class, I learned more strategies and tips to save instructional time and take advantage of the materials provided to help students learn effectively. One thing that has also surprised me is that Houston is Huge! Of course, I come from a small town, but it is a lot to take in, but I have loved it. Thank you for this chance Houston ISD.”
Lamberto Quintero: His campus for the week was Helms Elementary and his mentor teacher was Ms. Castillo.