July 30, 2018
By Marilyn Huerta
In response to a lack of Latino teachers in the California school system, the School of Education partnered with Encuentros Leadership to host the second teacher preparatory academy program at California State University San Marcos held from June 20-30.
Eight high school students of Latino descent were invited to this residence program to experience being on a college campus and explore teaching as a profession.
“You are embarking on the best career on the planet,” said Pat Stall, director of Cal State San Marcos’ School of Education.
“Teachers change the world, and they really do. They have a lot of power as an educator and you certainly want to use that power in a good way.”
Guest speakers for this program consisted of exemplary Latino Educators, including school superintendents, principals and vice presidents from Palomar Community College and CSUSM, who encouraged participants to design a plan for their future. Students participated in team building activities, writing workshops, leadership presentations, and created their own presentations about the need for Latino teachers. They were reminded to embrace their identity and their own culture.
“You have to have a vision, said Cesar Morales, principal at Sage Creek High School. “Put yourself in challenging situations and connect with mentors.”
“You, as a Latino male, are needed by our schools but you have to bring it. You can’t just walk in and expect it, you to have to bring it. Your culture, your knowledge and your hard work will help you achieve it, but be so good that they can’t ignore you. Focus on making an impact, not on making a living,” said Morales.
Morales shared that he wants his kids to understand how their personal journey influences them and how they can make an impact as an educator.
“Don’t strive to be THE best,” he said. “It’s more important that you do YOUR best,” he said.
“I want to be a teacher because I was inspired by Mr. Phillips, my favorite English teacher who motivated others to take care others,” said Israel Lopez, one of the Teacher Academy participants.
How do you adapt to college life when you leave home?
“Learn how to adapt to your environment by getting involved, joining a club, and letting your passion lead you, said Francisco Escobedo, Superintendent, Chula Vista Elementary School District. “Don’t try to change others, you can only change yourself.”
Encuentros Leadership, founded by Robert Rivas approximately 16 years ago, is a non-profit leadership program that encourages and supports boys of Latino descent. Their teacher preparatory academy program is a pipeline for educators and leaders to support and motivate young males in embracing self-identity, culture and history. Participants are nurtured, advised and mentored to be future teachers. This residential summer program is scheduled to continue again next year.