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Martha Barragan

BA Adolescence Education, 2015

Coming to Iona College, I had a clear idea in what I wanted to major in – I wanted to pursue a career in education. Ever since I was young I felt the calling to follow this path, yet my desire to continue in this road intensified when I was able to sight the necessity of diverse educators who had walked the path of the new generation of American students.

At the end of my freshmen year, I had my first paid internship teaching at a summer program called CDF Freedom Schools. This program provided me with my initial exposure to the realm of education. Thanks to the support of my freshmen year professors, in specific Dr. Procario-Foley who highlighted my virtues in the letter of recommendation she wrote for me when I applied for the internship, I was able to have an enriching experience that surely put me ahead when I started taking my education courses.

In my consequent years of college, I had the fortune of expanding my pedagogy with the instruction of some fabulous professors and field work experiences. Our formation, as teachers, starts in the classroom, where we are exposed to the educational theories, and expands to the “real classrooms,” where we have the opportunity to observe and put into practice all the concepts and instructional strategies we have learned. Most of the field work is done at Robert Dodson School in Yonkers, where the student body and dynamics paint a very accurate picture of the majority of the schools that exist in our nation.

Being exposed to the diversity of Dodson allows me to work in the enriching summer programs offered by the District of Yonkers. In this teaching position, I had the opportunity to attend various informative professional development workshops that covered some of the major shifts in the education profession, such as Common Core and emerging bilinguals. Through my time in this position I was able to apply the strategies and profit from the knowledge I acquired in the workshops, since we were given the chance to test the instructional methods and reflect on their success during the workshop sessions.

As educators of this new generation of students, it is vital for teachers to be culturally competent in the diverse backgrounds of the pupils that occupy classrooms today, while avoiding stereotyping. Discovering the abilities of each individual child and being able to profit from the cultural capital each student possesses is the magical component that is capable of making every learner succeed. As it was put by one of the major philosophers, Plato: “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”