Bilingual Lead Teacher in Chicago, IL
Alma Ocampo-Nuñez was born and raised in Chicago, IL to her Salvadoran mother and Mexican father – who emigrated from their native countries in the 1970s. A product of the Chicago Public Schools, Alma went on to major in Elementary Education and Spanish at Northeastern Illinois University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in 2003. That fall, she began teaching the 4th grade in the same school system that helped educate her. In her 7th year of teaching, she decided to pursue an advanced degree with the goal of expanding her knowledge-base and better serving the children in the community. In 2011, she completed her Master’s Degree in School Leadership form Concordia University and also received her Administrative Certificate. Alma was compelled to work closer with the school and area leadership and Latino community to hopefully inspire students and parents to continue moving forward with their education- now and in the future. She saw herself in so many of these children, and saw her parents in the many parents she met with. Realizing their own potential to act as leaders in the school and community and recognizing their hard work and commitment to their children’s education, she has helped facilitate the Bilingual Advisory Council. Currently, Alma is the bilingual lead teacher and works primarily with Spanish bilingual students- grades kindergarten, 1st, 4th-8th. In addition, she works with new student arrivals helping equip them with the resources they need to fully integrate themselves into the classroom. The Bilingual Advisory Council is made up of parents and has been recognized as a model for parent engagement. Alma feels “the most important part of her job is to advocate for these students and parents and to ensure they know they are an essential part of the school and community”.
Why do you teach? I teach because I know that a teacher’s influence can be life-changing. Knowing this, I strive to be encouraging and to be part of a support system alongside the parents and my colleagues.
What do you love about teaching? Sometimes it takes years to learn the impact I have had on a student. I received this message a couple of years ago and I often read it, because it reminds me of the importance of my profession.
“Tomorrow I will be heading to college and I thought about all the things that lead me to this point in my life. I never got to take the time to really thank you for the impact you had on me. It’s funny how most people don’t realize the little things that can affect a person. Before I start school, I thought about all the things I have learned, all the things you told me, and how you inspired me to be who I am today.”