Ana Vasquez moved to Minnesota from her native country of El Salvador in 2000 and is now a science teacher at El Colegio, a Latino-focused, bilingual and bi-cultural school with arts in South Minneapolis. She has formed successful partnerships with community organizations such as Eco Education and Teen Wise to bring programs to the school. Ana is a role model for urban Latino youth in the Twin Cities and has also been an active volunteer with immigrant rights organizations, such as the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, working to stop deportations that lead to the separation of immigrant families.
My students, many of whom have faced serious obstacles in life yet remain eager to learn and advance, inspire me to give my all as a teacher. My school has a very low student-teacher ratio and this allows us to develop deep relationships with the students, which helps create a safe and fun learning environment.
The summer of 2000, when I started taking English classes through the Summer Intensive English Program (SIELOP). There I met other international students, some of whom have remained longtime friends. I really liked how the program was set up and the amazing work of the professors we had. I especially remember Eric Nelson who taught me how to write properly in English. I still remember his lessons when I teach writing to my students.
Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano.
My mother continues to inspire me in my life and in my career. She is an outstanding example of resilience. Although she had little education herself, she persisted, supported me, and pushed me to get an education. She is a constant reminder to me that when a student finds an adult that supports his or her education, they can achieve their academic goals regardless of the obstacles they may face. I strive to not just be a teacher to my students but to also learn from them and support them in their academic endeavors in and out of school.
The courses and classes I took through CEHD provided me with the necessary background for the middle school and high school systems in the United States. I grew up in El Salvador and transferred as a college student to the University of Minnesota, so I had no personal experience with the K-12 educational system here. CEHD helped prepare me for what to expect as a teacher in this country.