School has always been a source of comfort for Priscilla Cano Padrón, so much so that she describes it as a “second home.”
He’s not kidding. Growing up, the Texas native would voluntarily enroll in summer school and extra credit courses just to spend more time in the environment.
“I was always doing something to study at school because it felt like me,” she explains.
Cano Padron grew up near Dallas in a school community that she says encouraged, nurtured and provided stability and consistency when her teenage home life became difficult.
“I always found solace in coming in at 7:50 in the morning, having my pencil case, having my journals, learning something new every day,” she shares.
From his earliest teachers to his high school teachers, Cano Padrón developed close relationships with the educators in his life, many of whom he now looks up to as role models, and began to wonder how he might one day offer that to others. children what was given to him.
A few weeks ago, in May, Cano Padrón graduated from Dallas College with a B.A. For the first time in his life, he will no longer be a student, which Cano Padron says is an “emotional thing” for him.
But he won’t be out of the classroom for long. Cano Padrón, a first-generation Mexican-American, has accepted a fourth-grade teaching position in the Richardson Independent School District, the same district he attended.
In our Future Teacher series, we introduce students to teacher preparation programs who have their own classrooms to explore what put them on this career path and why they stayed on it, undeterred by the rhetoric surrounding the profession, full of hope. energy and momentum for what lies ahead. This month we are featuring Cano Padron.
The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
EdSurge. What is your earliest memory of a teacher?
Pricila Cano PadronMy earliest memory of a teacher has to be in second grade. We were reading a book about Pip Longstocking. What amused and attracted me was the character of my teacher. She dressed like Pippi, she did her hair. She stayed up late the night before to decorate the room with a book setting. She loved the character so much and it made me really enjoy reading. The way he read the book, the way he interacted with us, and the way we interacted with him, I think it really made me think: “Wow, I want to do that one day.” I want to dress up and read to kids, see them smile, interact and actually enjoy reading. It is still my favorite memory.
When did you realize you could become a teacher yourself? Was there a specific moment or story?
It didn’t really hit me until probably middle school. I have always enjoyed helping my friends with their homework, helping them understand. But in middle school, it was around 2014, when there were a lot of freshmen who didn’t understand English. And I’m bilingual, so I was able to translate a lot of information for them and help them solve math problems and read and kind of mentor them. I think that was my wake up call.
Have you ever reconsidered a teaching career?
I actually did. Before applying to college, I really wanted to try nursing. I was stuck on that idea probably the second half of my senior year of high school.
I always knew I wanted to hang out with kids and see them grow up and just be there and teach them and talk to them and watch them grow into mini adults. And I realized that in nursing I would be moving from room to room helping people, but I wouldn’t have the same kind of interaction with children.
So I wanted to be a nurse for three or four months, but I realized it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be a teacher.
It sounds like you’ve always wanted to go into a field where you’ll be of service to others. Do you think it comes from a certain part of you, or does it?
Yes, absolutely. I enjoy taking care of other people and I enjoy giving. So being a student teacher and going into the education field, I feel like it’s a perfect fit.
I am an only child and since I was probably 4 or 5 years old, I remember wanting to please my parents, wanting to help around the house and do a lot for them.
My father would come home from work in the evening, and I remember his slippers sitting by the chair, the bottle of cold water by the chair, and taking care of him and taking care of my mother when she was sick.
In 2011 or 2012, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia. It was very difficult.
It’s just my mom, dad and I, and my dad had to keep working to pay the bills. My mother couldn’t keep the job she had at the time. My father would come home at 6:30 in the evening, I loved being at school. I love education very much. [but during that period]When I was in school, all I could think about was: “Was my mother eating?” Is my mother okay? At the time, I had no cell phone or communication with her throughout the day, so as soon as 2:50pm rolled around, I was packed and ready to head out the door to go take care of her. Sometimes he didn’t need the help, but it was something I wanted to be there for.
Today he is feeling much better. He feels really great now. 10 years have passed.
Why do you want to be a teacher?
Growing up, every teacher I had had an impact on my life from Kindergarten through 12th grade. My fifth grade teacher, who I’m still close with, moved up to sixth grade with our class. So he was there the first year my mom started getting sick… he was there to take care of me in fifth and sixth grade. When things got worse, he didn’t feel sorry for me and my family. He never treated me differently just because of what was going on at home. He did the complete opposite. He made sure to push me. He has always given me amazing opportunities. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be doing as many things as I am today. So I always said I wanted to be a teacher just like him because he pushed me to become who I am today.
In: [just finished] the student was teaching and I was practicing before that. My students often said things like: “I don’t think I’m going to college because my mom didn’t go to college.” [I want to be a part of] breaking that stigma of not going to college because our parents didn’t. I want them to know that there is someone in their life who sees them and will support them and give them great opportunities. I want them to know that they have a support system not only at home but also at school. They have someone who is there for them. This is what drives me to be a teacher every day.
What gives you hope about your future career?
That’s a tough question. No matter how the day ends or how the class goes, I think it gives me hope to see the kids smile at me or give me the biggest hug or see them excel at whatever they’re working on. : Because education – being a teacher – is not easy. But kids just give you that little sense of hope. That big a sense of hope.
So for me it would have to be the kids, just knowing that one day they can become something bigger than us. Maybe I’m teaching the future president of the United States. Who knows?
What gives you pause or anxiety about becoming a teacher?
I think I’m very concerned about security, which is very controversial these days. Children’s safety.
And then, I don’t want to say about the salary, but just the lack of support for many teachers on their campus. I have an amazing team. They have supported me throughout my student teaching since August. But I’ve heard stories from close friends of mine who are student teaching in other districts, and the lack of support scares me because you can have a great campus, a great administrator, and then move to another school and it’s just not the same. I think that, plus safety and pay, is what worries many teachers, myself included.
You’re talking about physical security, protecting your students.
Yes, as it happened [in Nashville] and what happened about a year ago in south texas is one of my biggest worries about becoming an educator. You’re not just a teacher for these 20 kids. You are like a second parent to them. And you never know, regardless of the area, the neighborhood you’re in, you never know [what can happen]. Knowing that you can do a lot for them in those moments [is difficult]. So that’s my big worry. unable to do as much as he intends or hopes to protect the children.
It’s really heavy. And for you as an early childhood teacher, I imagine you feel like you have to be their protector, that if something happens, they’ll look to you to watch over them.
Yes. Right now, I’m in a third grade classroom and… I feel like every educator has had this thought. And you have to think about it more than once, especially these days, especially after what happened [in Uvalde]. Sometimes it hits you.
Can you tell us more about the pay? How do you feel about that career element?
I knew choosing this career going into it the pay was not as great as being a doctor or many other career choices. I can see why many teachers leave after their first, second or third year. I can see why they are not okay with the pay when they are going through so much on their campuses, with their students and with so little support. It’s a little heartbreaking, and it’s frustrating.
I think I knew that in choosing this career, I’m saying this now, I have to look at the salary level. As I mentioned before, I enjoy giving, I enjoy caring for others. So I’ve tried not to think about pay. As long as I’m educating the kids, as long as they feel safe and confident, I think I’m doing my job. And that overshadows the pay grade.
My focus is mainly on children. The day I feel like I haven’t done my job or haven’t tried my best, I think that’s what will motivate me to leave, not the pay grade of this career.
What have you learned from your student teaching experience?
Oh, oh. I learned that there is a huge difference between taking college classes and teaching in real classrooms. It’s like culture shock wherever you go because your textbook might tell you one thing, but then you see something completely different happening in real life. It’s a change. It is a surprise. You’re kind of on your own to figure it out. In college, you learn how to read material, how to plan lessons, but you don’t really learn how to manage a classroom, how to find your “teacher voice,” how to fit a lesson that didn’t work the first time around. and so fix it can work the second block. It’s a lot of changes. I was very shocked to see how it was so different from the textbook to real life.
Is it still everything you hoped it would be in terms of the joy and rewards of working with children?
Oh, absolutely. You know, you have your days where it’s a little bit stressful, and you have your days where it might be off, but absolutely. I’m still as happy as I was when I decided on my major. Nothing in life is perfect, especially when it comes to choosing a career. everyone has those ups and downs, but I haven’t lost the joy.