It's hard to view my career in stories. Maybe it's not even my story. Maybe it’s the story of my dad. I grew up in South Chicago. My dad was a preschool teacher. And everywhere we went, it was like, ‘El maestro, el maestro!’ And so that made me a celebrity by extension: la hija del maestro.
Teacher stories, interviews, and videos related to teacher pay and compensation, including the American Teacher Act.
I was pretty close with my brother. He ended up going to jail when I was in fourth grade. We were having morning meeting at school, and the question that day was, ‘How are you feeling?’
I was working at The Bridge Home at St. Mary's Women and Children's Center. It’s a shelter for infants to 12-year-olds. If the Department of Child and Family Services pulled a kid from their home, we housed and counseled them.
I have one student who really sticks out in my mind. I had him in my class when I taught seventh grade, and then he was in my class again when I switched to eighth grade. So I got to have him in my math class two years in a row. And he would do a lot of odd jobs around the room — hanging posters, things like that.
My mom taught for 30 years. And after I went to grad school she said, ‘Why don't you get some experience in the city schools?’ I did it, and I haven't left. You get really attached to the work and the students, especially once you see them meet the standards that you help them set for themselves.