Had you told me 10 years ago that I would become a teacher, let alone, go back to my high school to teach, I would’ve looked at you like you had three heads. The only thought on my mind was becoming the next big news anchor and, like many other teenagers, how far I could move away from home upon graduation. But here I was, walking back into Principal Bernardo Montero’s office looking to start my career in the world of Academica. Without a doubt, I was welcomed with open arms and my love for education began. I should’ve known education would become my passion, after all, both my grandmother and aunt are educators.
When asked why I decided to teach at a charter school it’s easy for me to give the textbook answers. The smaller class sizes allow for more personalization of instruction and the flexibility of the curriculum allows me to be creative in my teachings. However, the main reason I chose a charter school, my own high school at that, was the sense of family you find in a charter school that I knew would be hard to find in a typical school setting. The relationships made between educators and students at my current school, Somerset Prep DC Public Charter School (SPDC), does not end at the graduation stage.
I was raised by inspiring educators, both at home and in the classroom. Educators who maintained contact with me throughout my college career. They became my mentors. Daniel Meyer, my former history teacher who is now in leadership with Academica, is one of my greatest motivators. My Somerset family has always seen the potential in me and has inspired me to be better, something I hope I transcend into for my own students.
When I found out there would be the opportunity of moving to teach at SPDC, I jumped at the shot and I’m so glad I did. I’m extremely grateful to the administration at SPDC for giving me this opportunity. Every day I go to work I am amazed by my students. I often wonder if they are teaching me more than I am teaching them. Their enthusiasm for learning and their dreams for the future is inspiring. In the classroom now, and as an aspiring educational leader in the future, I hope to motivate at least one student to reach their full potential and follow their heart, the way I was and still am by my Somerset family.
Paula Garcia is a graduate of an Academia charter school in Miami, Florida and now teaches at Somerset Prep Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.