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Andrew Valdez Roster # 26

Philosophical Portrait of Myself

“Why would anyone want to become a teacher?” I’ve heard that statement growing up my

whole life. Sometimes in a derogatory manner, sometimes out of genuine curiosity. Occasionally,

people would go on to say, “You know what they say, those who can, do; those who can’t, teach!”

Those were the people who meant it in a derogatory manner. I’ve never understood that mindset.

For me, I grew up with family member as teachers. My grandfather taught and was principal of

my father’s high school. I’ve witnessed some amazing teachers who truly changed the lives of

their students. I’m lucky enough to be one of those students. Teachers have the opportunity to

truly make a positive impact on students during their formative years of development. Knowing

that I am entering a career where I’m doing good for my community is empowering. This does

mean that I have to be prepared. I will be a good teacher. Anything less is a disservice to my

students, school, and community.

When I decided to become a teacher, my community played a huge part in that decision. I

moved away from Las Vegas following high school to attend Colorado State University. I quickly

learned that I was not meant for the snow, and I was back home in Las Vegas before I had to go

through a second Colorado winter. Moving back had such a positive effect on me. No longer did

I take for granted desert sun and the warmth it provided. No longer did I take for granted this city

that never sleeps. I am grateful to live in this desert oasis, and I will look for ways to better this

community. Since my senior year of high school, I’ve been a counselor for Nevada Boys’ State,

a civics leadership summer camp for high school juniors. Through NBS, I’ve been fortunate

enough to meet students from all over the state of Nevada. Getting to interact with these students,

and being in a type of mentorship role solidified my choice to want to work with students as a
career. It’s not a coincidence that I want to teach high school government classes, and that’s

because of my experiences with NBS.

Government is a common core class, and typically that means teachers will get students

who are less than enthused about the material. That is okay. It’s my job as a teacher to engage

them. My goal is not to make government students’ favorite class. Instead my goal is to impart a

working knowledge of how our government works, to engage their curiosity in a manner that

inspires them to keep abreast current events, and the ability to determine credibility. My teaching

style will be primarily be progressivism with a dash of perennialism. When teaching government,

I believe it is important to consider original source material, however one of the beauties of

government is the flexibility teachers have to relate it to the current day. Relating it to the current

day also allows for serious engagement with students which is what I look forward to the most. I

hope students see me as a humorous lecturer that encourages dialogue. My experiences shadowing

a government teacher has shown me that dialogue with students is key. If I can get them talking,

that means they’re engaged. However that will not be enough to ensure my students’ success.

I believe that my learning styles will help me plan fair, accessible, engaging lessons. I

primarily identify as a linguistic, logical-mathematical, and interpersonal learner. Being a

linguistic learner has ensured that I have developed the skills needed to be capable of writing easy

to understand and fair worksheets, quizzes and tests. My experiences as a logical-mathematical

learner has prepared me to read student essays which will make me a better grader. The logical

part of my brain will also be able to recognize when I make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, and

it is important to be able to identify and learn from them. I know that being an interpersonal learner

has made me more compassionate. I’ll have my expectations of students, but I also understand that

students come to school with their own lives. Situations will arise where it will be better to be
empathetic than stern, and I hope my experiences as an interpersonal learner will help me recognize

those situations. Just because these are the ways I learn, that doesn’t mean it’s the way all students

learn. I endeavor to improve myself as an educator so that I can engage with all learning styles of

students.

Five years from now, I see myself as one thousand eight hundred twenty six days better

than I am today. I truly set out each day with the intention to be better than I was the day before. I

firmly intend on staying here in the Las Vegas valley. This is my home, and it excites me to be

able to work in a way that betters it. I can easily picture myself waking up early in the morning,

ideally with a dog by my side, putting on my shirt and tie, heading to school for six periods of

classes, perhaps there’s a club after school that uses my room. I would love to be able to take part

in coaching an athletic team. I want to be a part of the school community, attending the school’s

theatre productions, band performances, and other extracurricular events. I also see myself being

surrounded by family and friends and incorporating them in the school community. I intend on

being fully involved with the high school I work at.

Knowing that I try to be better every day. Knowing that the career I’ve chosen will make

my soul and brain happy. Knowing that I have the opportunity to change someone’s life for the

better. Knowing that I will get to pounce on teaching moments, and that I’ll get to see the light

bulbs go off in students’ heads. Knowing that I have the support and love of my friends and family.

Knowing that I am walking in my grandfathers’ steps. These reasons encompass why I want to be

a teacher. Even though, I’m positive that teaching will get tough, and that I will get stressed. I look

forward to the challenge. I look forward to having to roll with the punches and the unpredictability

that comes with working with students. I know that at the end of the day, I’ll be happy in knowing

that I am doing good for the community.