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Behind the Desk of an MAT Graduate
Angel de la Rosa

Before attending Trinity’s Masters of Art in Teaching program, Angel De La Rosa got their bachelor’s in Human Communication and minored in Spanish and Education at Trinity University. After graduation, they began working as a middle-school Spanish teacher, with an average class size of about 15 students. We sat down with Angel to discuss their experiences in the MAT program, and how those experiences impacted their career.

Q: Can you share the moment or incident you realized that you wanted to be a teacher?
A: I was a 10th grader going to 11th. The summer vacation had arrived. I went to a charter school that required volunteer hours over the summer and I wanted to try something different besides Houston Food Bank and my local church. I asked my mom, a teacher’s aide, if I could help out at her pre-k center during the summer and I was welcomed with open arms. That summer was one of the best experiences ever. I had so much fun with the kids as we did read-alouds, games, science experiments, and even short plays with the class puppets. I quickly realized how fun it was to teach. That experience made me see myself as a teacher in the future and look at me now!

Q: Tell us about your current teaching position. What subject do you teach, what grade level, and what is your class size?
A: I currently teach Spanish at a middle school. I teach 7th grade Spanish with an average class size of 15. We are a small school as we only have about 250 students in total from 6th to 8th grades.

Q: What do you love the most about your current job?
A: What I love most about my job is making students feel excited about learning a new language and culture. We do various fun activities such as news reporter videos for the weather unit, fashion show for clothes unit, dream school for school unit, dream house for house unit, Día de los Muertos dioramas and more!

Q: What helps you avoid teacher burnout?
A: What helps me avoid teacher burnout is setting work-life boundaries. I have learned to do what I can at work and have time for myself outside of work. 

Q: What is your favorite memory from the MAT program?
A: My favorite memory from the MAT program is when Shealsy, Matthew and I won a competition for a unit. We worked together to construct a strong foundation for Shealsy's Among Us/Pythagorean Theorem unit. Each group was competing to win best chef! We won and took pictures in our aprons! That chef competition of cooking up a strong unit proposal was fun!

Q: How has this program prepared you for your job?
A: This program has prepared me for being a teacher by letting me experience multiple facets of a teacher's role. MAT classes taught valuable teaching strategies that we were able to implement in our internship. In a sense, the MAT felt like my first year teaching, which helped a ton.

Q: Tell me about your experience working with high school students. Is there anything you especially like about the experience or anything you learned so far?
A: I first taught high school and then moved to a middle school. I loved working with high schoolers because they are so funny! They still love the effort and appreciate the little things we do for them. Not to mention that I loved listening to my high schoolers, validating their feelings and helping them be their best version of themselves. Having a conversation with a high schooler is way different than one with a 3rd grader.

Q: Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in teaching?
A: First and foremost, your students are people first. They will have feelings. They will have bad days. They will have breakups. They will have trouble focusing. Try to understand your students! Listen to them. 10 years from now students will most likely not remember what they learned but they will surely remember how you made them feel.

Q: What are your career plans for the next five years?
A: My career plans for the next five years are to continue to teach and maybe move up as assistant principal or even start teaching college classes! We'll see!

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