Teach, Reach, & Inspire!
My Route to a Career in Education
Written by: Zarett Ramirez
¡Saludos a todos!
My name is Zarett Ramirez and this past May 2020, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the School of Education with a minor in Social and Economic Justice. Whew, that is a mouthful, but I am still in disbelief of it all. Maybe it has to do how fast these four years have gone or the unprecedented reality of COVID-19. Whatever it is, I am still amazed.
Ever since I could remember I have always liked school. I was that child that would create my own classroom with the stuffed animal students piled on the bed. I loved pretending to teach and I loved the excitement of being a student.
I have a knack for learning, but I still believe it takes time to master the material. Because of my hard work and devotion, I was able to get good grades in school. I always took notes, studied, and revisited the subject matter.
At one point, as a first-generation Latina student, I didn’t even see myself going to college. Growing up I didn’t understand what college was, I never thought that far ahead in school, but when I got to high school I realized college was the way for me to make something of myself. I found comfort in the idea of attending college, so I could build a future career and make my family proud as the daughter of immigrants.
In college I learned what truly interested me, I went in as a nursing student, but it was a hard reality for me that I would not succeed if I followed that path. I learned that I was not passionate about becoming a nurse and the material was hard and not interesting for me. Thus, I went back to my first dream: to become a teacher.
I always had that career in the back of my mind, but I was afraid of what others would say: “They don't get paid well" or "that is a terrible job.” I thought my parents would be ashamed because it was not a career they would have wanted me to follow. However, when I took my first set of education classes, I was captivated.
Through a social justice lens, I wanted to learn more about education, the injustices, and misrepresentations of people that are reproduced in educational curriculums. As a Latina teacher, I could support communities of color and use critical pedagogy to create a safe, collaborative, and question-driven learning environment. I wanted to become that teacher that I need growing up. Someone Latinx students could relate too. Someone who could see a student’s ability and offer support and encouragement. I believed it was important for me to continue growing my knowledge base to be the best teacher possible. Thus, I applied to the Masters in Teaching program at UNC and was accepted.
With all of this, I say to you do not limit yourself and ground your feet because you are beyond capable. Your experiences, culture, language, ability, and whatever you identify yourself with is valid and enough. When I was in college, I continued to doubt myself, but each semester that went by brought new challenges yet new wins. I learned that college is something I can do.
So remember: Be confident in who you are, keep the people and things that you value close, and remain passionate and open to what the future may hold. We are all learning and figuring out our unique journeys together.
Con mucho cariño y cuidense,
Bloom Into Womanhood thanks Zarett for collaborating with us!
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Meet the Author: Zarett Ramirez
Photo Courtesy of Zarett Ramirez
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