Cross-posted from the TEACH.gov blog.
Click here for an accessible version of the video.
Teach.gov is a place for aspiring teachers to find their own pathways to teaching. We will be featuring stories from teachers around the country sharing how they came to enter this rewarding profession. Linda Yaron is a Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the Department of Education, and a high school English teacher from Los Angeles, and this is her story:
When my parents immigrated to America, they didn’t have the same type of access and opportunity to make it in education as I did. It was my dad’s dream that his children would graduate from college, the dream parents often share in wanting a better life for their children than they had. In my last seven years teaching I have seen countless parents fighting for that same chance for their children. I have also seen the lines of fierce determination and daily struggle on the faces of my students trying to wade their way through an educational system not designed to fit their needs.
The statement that teaching found me is much more accurate than saying that I found it. While in college at the University of California, San Diego, I found a job at the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition and soon after added Human Development as my major. The classes I took in educational theory and inequality were mind-opening. I learned about the systemic and deep unfairness that determined someone’s opportunities based on the experiences their zip code afforded them. My new understanding of children’s circumstances motivated me to ensure that their futures were not left to sheer chance, but rather that every child is afforded an equal and strong opportunity to succeed in his or her education.
I entered the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Los Angeles because of their emphasis on social justice and commitment to address the conditions needed for success in our schools and communities. I received a scholarship to cover the full cost of tuition upon the condition that I teach for four years following completion of the program. Although at the time uncertain of my path, seven years later, I know that the decision to teach is the best career decision I ever could have made. My first year teaching ninth grade English in a school of over 5,000 in Los Angeles, I saw my students fight with all their hearts for a chance to make it and fulfill their dreams. Next year my first-year student Ivette, will be transferring out of community college to be an English teacher, a symbol of the courage she embodies to want to transform her community through education.
Last year my dad stood proud as his youngest son walked the stage to graduate from college. I hope that one day every child and parent has that same chance. It has been an honor to teach and work with those in my community to increase opportunities for all students to succeed.