CSUSM Alumnus, Teresa Gerent believes in the School of Education’s vision

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Teresa Gerent
CSUSM Alumnus, School of Education
Distinguished Teacher in Residence (DTiR)

When did you graduate from CSUSM and what was your major?
I completed coursework for Social Sciences in 1997 before pursuing and receiving my Teaching Credential in 1998. I completed my graduate work from CSUSM in 2012, in curriculum design for an innovative history course called, “A Socio-Political History of Rock ‘n Roll.”

Why did you select CSUSM?
I chose to attend CSUSM because I believe wholeheartedly in the School of Education’s vision, specifically, the “School of Education advances innovative practice and leadership by generating, embracing, and promoting equitable and creative solutions.” This vision has guided my teaching philosophy and practice since 1998.

Can you share a favorite memory from your college years at CSUSM?
I’ve been at CSUSM in some capacity since 1996. As I recall, there were only three buildings at the time – Craven Hall, Academic Hall, and Science Hall. There was construction going on non-stop. I have loved having professors that were younger than I am from all parts of the world. I have especially loved the professors I’ve had in the Educational programs – Teaching Credential and Masters. But my favorite memory was the day I graduated with my Teaching Credential, May 1998. The keynote speaker, Edward James Olmos, gave the most inspiring speech … and my children, at the time 12 and 13, were in the audience seeing their mom graduate from college, and understanding you’re never too old to realize your dream.

What have you been doing since you graduated?
Two weeks after completing my Teaching Credential I was hired as a full-time teacher. My first teaching assignment was at a charter school, Guajome Park Academy and no resources whatsoever were provided. Thanks to an excellent credential program, I was prepared to design creative, interdisciplinary, project-based and standards-aligned curricula. After 6 years, I was hired by the Vista Unified School District and have been teaching at the comprehensive high school, Rancho Buena Vista, and most recently at a magnet high school, Mission Vista. I’ve taught all 4-grade levels of history / social studies, as well as the elective course on Rock ‘n Roll.

How long have you been working at CSUSM?  
I’m currently in a unique situation, in that I’m one of the Distinguished Teachers in Residence (DTiR). In this capacity, I am teaching education courses in the School of Education. This is my last year teaching at CSUSM in this capacity.

How did you become interested in teaching? 
I’ve known since I was seven that I wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, I had very negative experiences in school. Compounding that was the fact that I’m dyslexic, but wasn’t identified until I was 18. These factors postponed my dream of teaching until I was 40.

What type of research are you doing? Or what are you teaching?
As mentioned above, I am one of the DTiR’s teaching education courses in the School of Education.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?
Teaching in two different programs (Single Subject and Middle Level), supervising Teacher Candidates, and attending an array of meetings is definitely a challenge, but it’s more exhilarating than it is frustrating.

What is the greatest reward of your job?
No question – the students. Having the opportunity to see the future through the lens of my students is one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done, and seeing the adults they become.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
For an ordinary person, I have an extraordinarily busy personal life. I’m the mother of two and the grandmother of a 5-year old, who lives with me 50% of the time. I spend the better part of my personal life teaching my grandson about gardening, baking, and most importantly, about music. I also spend a lot of time (and money) going to concerts, traveling in the US, reading biographies, body surfing, making pies from my fruit trees, walking, and watching a LOT of animated films with my grandson.

What’s the best part about working at CSUSM?
I believe that the School of Education is the best department on this campus. I am inspired by the brilliance, the compassion, the ingenuity, and the respect I see at every meeting I attend, and within the subcommittees, I work. I’ve been given the most incredible opportunities for growth… I am eternally grateful for having had this opportunity.