Things That Matter

Fresno State Is Using A Grant To Get More Bilingual Latino Teachers In Classrooms

California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) is taking initiative when it comes to putting more Latinos in and in front of the classroom. The college has received a $3.75 million grant toward programs for Latino students who want to become teachers at San Joaquin Valley area schools. Latino teachers represent 25 percent of public schools in Fresno County, while Latino students make up 65 percent of the population, according to the California Department of Education.

The goal of the new program is to increase the number of bilingual Latino teachers who will return to teach in their hometowns.

The historically Latino area is at a disparity when it comes to teacher-student ratio. There are currently 3.3 million Latinos attending California’s K-12 public school and with nearly 1.4 million English learners in the state. The gap is growing most noteably in Fresno County.

The program will start with recruiting early in local high schools, helping students through the community colleges then into Fresno State’s liberal studies and teacher credential program to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. Patricia D. Lopez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fresno State, believes that the program comes at an important time in the history of the school district.

“As this population continue to grow that disconnect continues to stagger and it has gone up over the years,” Lopez said. “You can find a campus full of Latinos but only small handful of Latinos teachers. At the administrative level you are praying on this demographic to shoulder the responsibility and it plays into both the students and administration.”

Lopez says the disparity may have to do with retention rates. A recent study shows that Latino teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than their peers.

Lopez says that district leaders must pay as much attention to understanding and creating the right culture to retain Latino teachers as they do to recruiting them. That starts with listening and learning from teachers and focusing on creating a culture where students and teachers are both set up to succeed.

“We really do need to do more when it comes to four year college graduates and retaining them,” Lopez says. “We can always do better and seeing so many Latino teachers leave the field is indicative of the lack of support they may have.”

Almost half of all undergraduate students at Fresno State are Latino and the percentage is higher at Fresno City and Reedley colleges where the Latino student population is 53 percent and 71 percent. This places an emphasis on having a sizable amount of teachers that reflect the population in the area.

The grant will also allow all three campuses to hire advisers and counselors dedicated to serving the would-be teachers.

“The grant is putting resources in advisers that will help students throughout the program,” Lopez says. “Having cultural understanding, breaking language barriers and understanding financial restraints are important and we think of them as holistic resources for our teachers.”

The teacher program will start in 2019 with 30 students who will take community college classes for two years before transferring to Fresno State. Each of the three campuses will have a designated resident counselor and director to support students throughout the program. Lopez hopes that by recruiting students from the Fresno community that will lead to them teaching locally. She has already seen a positive reaction from teachers, former students that are now teachers and students that want to be part of the program,

“This pipeline program is huge not only for the state at-large but for our community here where many are asking how can I be apart of this,” Lopez said. “People want to be a part of the conversation here in the central valley and hopefully that leads to having more Latinos leading classrooms.”


READ: Officials Have Made Voting In This Latino Kansas Town So Difficult And A Judge Ruled Against Making Things Easier

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This Mexican Teacher Drives Two Whole Hours Out Of Her Way To Teach Kids With Special Needs In The Pandemic

Fierce

This Mexican Teacher Drives Two Whole Hours Out Of Her Way To Teach Kids With Special Needs In The Pandemic

Fiona Goodall / Getty

It is a truth nationally acknowledged that teachers in the United States are massively undervalued.

As educators, the teachers in our country often act as keepers of our children, the leaders of their knowledge as well as the ones who help instill them with moral values. What’s more, their presence provides parents with much-needed support, particularly in cases where children might have special needs. During the time of the COVID crisis, its no wonder that the effort of a Mexican teacher to step up and be present for her students in a way that goes beyond the description of her job, is gaining exceptional praise.

A teacher based out of Mexico is being praised as an ‘angel’ for turning her pickup truck into a classroom on wheels.

An elementary school teacher in Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato, is literally going the extra mile to help her autistic students during the pandemic.

The teacher, identified only as Nay, is ensuring that her students don’t fall behind despite the fact that their school has been closed. To reach her students she drives two hours every day to meet those who do not have access to books or the internet to make sure they receive proper help with schoolwork.

During their in-person class session, Nay meets with her students in the back of her pickup truck. The entire time Nay and her students both wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

The teacher’s efforts recently went viral after one of her student’s mothers shared a photo of her work on Twitter.

In the photo posted to the mother’s Twitter page, Nay can be sitting in the back of a red pickup trick working with a student while wearing a mask.

“In Mexico, school was cancelled because of the pandemic. This teacher turned her pickup truck into a portable classroom,” Akki wrote on her Twitter page. “She drives two hours a day to teach children with autism who don’t have books or access to the internet.”

The tweet about the teacher has earned thousands of likes and retweets.

According to an interview with Quien, Nay says all teachers put in this much of an effort to provide their students with support.

Nay told Quien that she usually works at a school with students who have disabilities and is always working to improve as a teacher. On the day that the photo was taken Nay said she was evaluating her students “to really know how this pandemic was affecting [the students’] learning since they are the most vulnerable.” She was also curious to “know how they feel … because this has not been easy for anyone.”

In response to the image, Twitter users are calling Nay a “hero.”

“Due to restricted/repetitive behaviors of kids in the spectrum isn’t easy to modify teaching conditions to them so what this teacher is doing is extremely valuable, pure Love,” one user wrote in the comments of the tweet. “Autism is a complex developmental condition that involves many challenges, learning is only one of them”

“God bless this woman,” another commenter wrote. “Shout out to all those who go the extra mile to help those in need. This is exactly what humanity is all about, something we should all learn from one another.'”

“Teachers DESERVE TO BE PAID WAY MORE THAN THEY ARE PAID,” another user pointed out. “They spend more time with other people’s children than the children spend with their own families.”

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FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Joe Raedle / Getty

No matter what experiences you’ve had as a student, hopefully you have had at least a handful of teachers who left good impressions on you. As a whole class of students from this year graduate and become teachers themselves, we wanted to ask veteran maestras for advice on how to continue the cycle of positivity.

In a recent post to our Instagram page we asked all our FIERCE maestras, what advice do they have for a new teacher and boy did they deliver!

Check out the replies below!

Stay nourished.

“Advice: eat during your break girl and practice self-care.” – la_misses_m

Take it easy.

“Take it one day at a time. At times you will doubt yourself but push through the all the challenges. Always remember why you are there, which is to teach your students. You got this!! Good luck!!” – erixcii

Make sure you’re feeding your relationships.

“Focus on relationships above everything. Relationships with your students and their families!”- allirousey

Don’t forget to build relationships with your students.

“Self-care and building relationships with your students and families!!” – jazzyfue

And definitely remember to trust yourself.

“I’m an SLP, but I would tell her to trust herself!! You got this! You know your kids and you talents!” – maryoso_moli

Self-care Sundays shall your temple.

“Practice Self-care and build relationships with students. Remember to always be kind to the janitors/grounds keepers/ clerical staff (they make our jobs easier). Consider keeping a scrap book or journal of sweet notes and emails that you can look through on the tough days. Always teach with your heart and with a growth mindset; never get complacent because our profession is ever changing and we will likely never have the exact same group of kiddos again. Keep learning from your coworkers (what to do and what not to do), from your students, insta teachers, workshops, and personal experience (make notes to yourself in your planner for next year). Being organized has saved me, even on the most hectic days. Always have a back up lesson available. Empathy is key! Take. Days. Off. I know lesson plans are time consuming, but your mental health is worth prioritizing.” – cmirene

Know it gets better over time.

“The first year may be hard, but it gets better and better every year.”- yulzzzz5

Don’t be a Yes Ma’am.

“Advice: learn to say no. You’ll be super compelled to go more than above and beyond because it’s all for the kids and as much as I ADORE AND LOVE my students just as I am sure you will you need some you time. I started being the only teacher at school functions and being stressed about helping my high schoolers have the best time that I was drowning. Love them but love yourself too! You deserve you time.” – del_ranita

Don’t be a shrinking violet.

“Don’t shrink yourself to make your whyte colleagues feel comfortable. Connect with other teachers of color and ask for/give support. Lead with love for your students. They should always come first.”- queenurbie

Be an authentic leader.

“My one piece of advice is to invest time in getting to know your students, their stories and be your authentic self with them. Kids love knowing that their teachers are people and are just like them.” – meerehyah@educatinglittleminds 

And finally, remember ya live and learn!

“I remember I used to always want to be “perfect” for them and would fear making mistakes or letting them see me when things wouldn’t go right. When a lesson didn’t work out as planned. I learned to let that go and to let them see me make mistakes. It is okay! And it is okay to admit it. They’ll appreciate it! Teaches them that we aren’t all perfect and we all make mistakes-it’s a part of life. Teach on and be You! They’ll love every piece of you.” – su_heeey

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